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WOMEN in Art is the focus of attention at Plymouth’s leading public gallery.

The show at the City Museum and Art Gallery features arguably Britain’s most popular painter of the last half century, the late Beryl Cook.

The much-loved Plymouth artist’s work hangs alongside some other leading names spanning the Renaissance to the present day.

It features muses, models, portraits and ceramics.

The artists include men known for their depiction of women, such as French Impressionism pioneer Edgar Degas and British re-Raphaelite John Waterhouse.

Also represented are prominent 20th century painter Prunella Clough and St Ives artist Rose Hilton.

Ceramics by Clarice Clift, Dorothy Doughty and Lucie Rie are on show, plus a portrait of city MP Nancy Astor being introduced to Parliament as the first woman to take up her seat in the Commons.

Women in Art’s impressive selection of works comes from the museum’s permanent collections.

The exhibition continues until November next year and comes with an air of poignancy.

It is dedicated to the memory of the museum’s late keeper of art, Maureen Attrill, who died in February 2011.

Although there is plenty of time to see Women in Art, these are the final days for New Light on Newlyn, which finishes on January 12.

This explores the art created in and around the Cornish fishing past and present.

Selected members of the Newlyn Society of Artists went on a tour of the stores at the Plymouth museum and created new work in response to that of the historical painters in the city collection.

The City Museum and Art Gallery (01752 304774) is in North Hill.

It is closed until Wednesday, January 2.

The gallery’s normal opening hours are Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 5.30pm and Saturdays, 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk