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Woman with a parrot by dod procter. A woman stands in a doorway, holding and releasing a parrot from its cage in a pin dress.

Dod Procter

(1890-1972)
Dod Procter was a prominent member of the Newlyn School, Cornwall, along with her husband Ernest Procter, the painter, illustrator and designer. She is best known for her monumental portraits of female figures on the cusp of womanhood...

Biography

Dod Procter was a prominent member of the Newlyn School, Cornwall, along with her husband Ernest Procter, the painter, illustrator and designer. She is best known for her monumental portraits of female figures on the cusp of womanhood and she became nationally famous for her portrait Morning which was exhibited and awarded ‘Picture of the Year’ at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1927. Morning was bought for the nation by the Daily Mail andunderwent a two year tour of Britain following its purchase; it now hangs in the Tate gallery, London. 

Dod Procter was born Doris Shaw in 1890 to Frederick Charles Shaw and Eunice Mary Richards, an artist who had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. Following the death of her husband, Eunice Mary, her daughter and son moved to Newlyn in Cornwall, a fishing town that had been attracting artists since 1877 when the Great Western Railway was extended to Cornwall, and thereafter established the famous Newlyn artist group. It was there that Doris enrolled in the Stanhope Forbes’ School of Painting, a school founded by Alexander Forbes, the ‘father’ of the Newlyn School, and where Doris met Ernest Procter, a fellow student, whom she would marry in 1912. Both Doris and Ernest studied at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris between 1910 and 1911. During the First World War Ernest was sent to fight in France whilst Doris stayed at home to look after their infant son Bill, who was born in 1913, the same year that both parents exhibited watercolours at the Fine Art Society in London.[2]

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Dod Procter was a prominent member of the Newlyn School of artists in Cornwall along with her husband Ernest Procter, the painter, illustrator and designer. She is best known for her monumental portraits of female figures on the cusp of womanhood and she became nationally famous for her portrait Morning which was exhibited and awarded ‘Picture of the Year’ at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1927. Morning was bought for the nation by the Daily Mail andunderwent a two year tour of Britain following its purchase; it now hangs in the Tate Modern gallery, London. 

Dod Procter was born Doris Shaw in 1890 to Frederick Charles Shaw and Eunice Mary Richards, an artist who had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. Following the death of her husband, Eunice Mary, her daughter and son moved to Newlyn in Cornwall, a fishing town that had been attracting artists since 1877 when the Great Western Railway was extended to Cornwall. It was there that Doris enrolled in the Stanhope Forbes’ School of Painting, a school founded by Stanhope Alexander Forbes, the ‘father’ of the Newlyn School, and where Doris met Ernest Procter, a fellow student, whom she would marry in 1912. Both Doris and Ernest studied at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris between 1910 and 1911. During the First World War Ernest was sent to fight in France whilst Doris stayed at home to look after their infant son Bill, who was born in 1913, the same year that both parents exhibited watercolours at the Fine Art Society in London.[2]

Following the First World War, the Procters were commissioned by a Chinese merchant, Lim Ching Tsong, who was residing at a Newlyn hotel, to paint a series of murals for his palace in Rangoon, Burma. Accepting the offer, the couple travelled to Burma on Christmas Eve 1919, leaving their son with a nanny, and although their client became difficult, they had the opportunity to spend a year in the country and explore the Irrawaddy River by boat. This year abroad significantly influenced Doris’ work, she became more confident in her style, the Burmese culture provided endless visual stimuli and she worked almost exclusively on portraiture.

On their return, Doris and Ernest moved back to Newlyn where Doris was quickly recognised for her striking female portraits of local fishermen’s daughters and models sent from London by her life-long friend and fellow artist Laura Knight. [RD2] It was at this time that she also began exhibiting under the name Dod. By 1923 the Procters had moved into a fisherman’s cottage, North Corner in Newlyn, which they extensively renovated, adding a conservatory and creating a magical garden full of grottos and secret hiding places.[3] Inside the house was a modest dining room containing a dresser decorated with colourful floral china; this was included Girl with a Parrot, [RD3] previously withPhilip Mould & Co.[4] In 1924 Dod began regularly exhibiting in America at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh where many of her portraits, including this one exhibited in 1925, were bought by American private collectors.

In 1929 Dod’s painting Virginal, a full-length portrait of a nude pubescent girl, was rejected by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition jury as the young female sitter’s genitals were on display; this painting was instead sent to the Leicester Galleries. Nevertheless, Dod Procter was made an associate of the Royal Academy in 1934, only the third woman to be elected in the history of the institute, and she became a Royal Academician in 1942.

 

Ernest Procter died in 1935 of a cerebral haemorrhage whilst traveling in the North East of England and from this point Dod decided to travel more, visiting America and Canada the following year, the Canary Islands, Tenerife and Jamaica in the 1950s. During her sojourns abroad, she began to incorporate still-lifes into her subjects, some of which are listed above. Dod Procter died at North Corner in Newlyn on 31st July 1972 and was buried next to her husband.

Works by Dod Procter are housed in public collections including the Tate, Laing art Gallery, Penlee House Gallery and City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. Important portraits and still lifes by Dod Procter have been bought and sold by Philip Mould & Company for a number of years; notable works include Girl with a Parrot, and Still life of Flowers.

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500 Years of British Art