Dod Procter

Dod Procter, born Doris Margaret Shaw, RA (1890–1972) was an English artist, and the wife of the artist Ernest Procter.[2][3] Her painting, Morning, was bought for the public by the Daily Mail in 1927.[4]

Dod Procter RA
Dod Procter self portrait.jpg
Self portrait, 1937
Doris Margaret Shaw

21 April 1890
Hampstead, London, England
Died31 July 1972
EducationForbes School, Atelier Colarossi
Known forPainting
Spouse(s)Ernest Procter
ElectedPresident of St Ives Society of Artists (STISA)

Procter and her husband attended art schools in England and in Paris together, where they were both influenced by Impressionism and the Post-Impressionism movements. They also worked together at times, sometimes sharing commissions and other times showing their work together in exhibitions. Procter was a lifelong artist, active after the untimely death of her husband in 1935. After Ernest's death, Procter travelled to the United States, Canada, Jamaica and Africa. She died in 1972 and is buried next to her husband at St Hilary Church, Cornwall.[3][5] She was a member of several artists organisations, such as the Newlyn School and became President of St Ives Society of Artists (STISA) in 1966. Her work was exhibited at the Royal Academy on many occasions.


Early life and educationEdit

Doris "Dod" Shaw was born in Hampstead, London in 1890. Her father was a ship's doctor and her mother was a former art student who had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art.[6] The family moved to Tavistock in Devon, but after the death of her husband, Dod's mother moved the family to Newlyn in 1907.[6] There, at the age of 15, Dod enrolled in the School of Painting run by Elizabeth Forbes and Stanhope Forbes. The Shaws stayed with two other Forbes students, Dod's cousin Cicely Jesse and another woman artist, Tennyson Jesse, in a large townhouse known as Myrtle Cottage. At Forbes, Dod met her future husband Ernest Procter; they were considered Forbes' star pupils.[7][8] In Newlyn, Dod met Laura Knight, who became a lifelong friend and a considerable influence on her career.[6]

In 1910 Dod and her mother went to Paris where Dod, alongside Ernest Procter, studied at the Atelier Colarossi. Dod and Ernest were both influenced by Impressionism and Post-impressionism and the artists that they met in France, such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne. The couple married in 1912 at the church in Paul in Cornwall and a year later their son Bill was born.[7][5] The family established a home at North Corner in Cornwall.[6] Also in 1913, Dod Procter first exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art.[3]

During World War I Ernest served in France working with a Friends' Ambulance Unit detachment.[5] The regular letters between the couple show Dod to be depressed at his absence as well as bored and short of money.[6] After the war, the couple settled in Newlyn and this was the Procters' home for most of their working lives.[4]


In 1920 Dod and Ernest Procter were commissioned to decorate the Kokine Palace in Rangoon by a Chinese millionaire, Ching Tsong.[3][5] The commission took a year and required them working with Burmese, Indian and Chinese craftsmen often painting murals at considerable heights within the palace.[6] However Ching Tsong was unimpressed with their work and refused to pay them their agreed fees or provide accommodation so the Procters painted portraits of local people and members of the British colonial administration for an income.[9] The Procters also created designs for etched crystal.[3]

Dod Procter; Morning. Bought for the nation by the Daily Mail in 1927.

When she returned to England, Dod Procter began to focus on painting portraits, usually of young women.[6] Throughout the 1920s Dod Procter continued to paint single female figures, sometimes nude, others in softly draped clothes.[10][11] From around 1922, she painted a series of simplified, monumental images of young women of her acquaintance.[4][12] They were typified by the volume of the figures, brought out by her use of light and shadow.[4][12] The Back Bedroom (1926) and Girl on White (1923) were powerful, carefully observed portraits of young women.[6] The Model, a portrait of a young women deep in concentration, was regarded as one of the best paintings shown at the Royal Academy in 1925.[6] The model for the work was a Newlyn fisherman's 16-year-old daughter, Cissie Barnes, who also modelled, every day for five weeks, for Procter's best known work, Morning.[4][13]

When Morning, was displayed at the 1927 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, it was voted Picture of the Year and bought by the Daily Mail for the Tate Gallery, where it now hangs.[14][15] Procter sold the work for £300, but could have achieved ten times that amount.[16] Prior to its permanent hanging in the Tate, Morning was shown in New York, and then on a two-year tour of Britain.[4] A second, smaller version of the painting, known as Early Morning, is held by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.[15]

Both public and critics responded to Morning, praising its "sensuous but sombre style" which evoked the west Cornish "silver light".[16] Frank Rutter, art critic of The Sunday Times, said in 1927 that Morning was "a new vision of the human figure which amounts to the invention of a twentieth century style in portraiture"[17] and "She has achieved apparently with consummate ease that complete presentation of twentieth century vision in terms of plastic design after which Derain and other much praised French painters have been groping for years past."[18] Despite this, a number of the nude paintings by Procter that accompanied Morning on tour were deemed unsuitable for display by some venues.[19] Also considered controversial was Procter's 1929 submission to the Royal Academy. Virginal showed a young female nude holding a dove and when the Academy rejected the painting the story was reported in the several national newspapers.[19]

As well as Cissie Barnes other women who modelled for Procter included the artist Midge Bruford and also Eileen Mayo, who had come to Newlyn to model for Laura Knight and became an artist in her own right.[20][21]


In the 1930s Dod Procters' style of painting changed completely. Works such as The Orchard (1934), Sheila Among the Ferns (1935) and Kitchen at Myrtle Cottage (1935) display the meticulous finish and lighting of her earlier work but without her previous hard lines and solidly delineated bodies of colour.[6][21][22] Ernest Procter died unexpectedly while travelling in 1935. The couple had often staged joint exhibitions at the Leicester Galleries and Dod continued to do so after Ernest's death.[6]

In 1938, Proctor decided to move to Zennor, near her friend, the artist Alethea Garstin.[3] The subjects of her pictures were largely portraits and flowers.[23] Garstin's influence was apparent in Procter's work in the latter part of her career. She became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1942. In 1945 she illustrated a colored frontispiece and line drawings for a story by Clare Collas, A Penny for the Guy. Procter visited Tenerife in 1938 and again, with her friend, the artist Jeanne du Maurier, in 1946.[6] In 1948, she visited Basutoland and in 1964 went to Tanganyika.[6] During the 1950s Procter spent some time in Jamaica, with Garstin, where she mainly painted portraits of children.[3]

During her lifetime and after her death her work fell out of favour.[24]


Procter was a member of, or affiliated with, the following organisations:[3]

List of worksEdit

The following are a list of some of Procter's work :[25]

  • African Head - Painting, Oil on board
  • Ancilla with an Orange- Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Anemones - 1936, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Aunt Lilla - 1946, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Autumn Flowers - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Blue ( Painting of a young girl) -1938, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Boys and Coconuts - 1945, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Mornings - 1929, Painting, Oil on canvas, 30x60cm
  • Early Morning, Newlyn - 1926, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Eileen Mayo - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Flowers on a chair - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Gabriel in St. Lucia - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • A Girl Asleep - 1925. Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Girl in Blue - 1925, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Girl With a Parrot - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Glass - 1935, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Golden Girl - 1930, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Innocent - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Jamaican Girl - 1960, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Kitchen at Myrtle Cottage - 1930, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Lilian - 1923, Painting, Oil on canvas, 52x42cm
  • Little Sister - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Midge Bruford, The Model - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Nasturtiums - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Orchard - 1934, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Pearl Necklace - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Quiet Hour - 1935, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Self Portrait - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Sketch of Burmese Children - Painting, Oil on canvas
  • The Sunday Shirt -1957, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Tolcarne Inn - 1935, Painting, Oil on canvas
  • Winter Scene from the Artist’s House, Newlyn - Painting, Oil on canvas


Museum and Gallery HoldingsEdit

Selected Current Holdings:[26][27][25]


  1. ^ "Deaths". The Times. London, England (58543): 30. 3 August 1972.
  2. ^ Judith Collins. "Procter [née Shaw], Doris Margaret [Dod] (1890–1972)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 3 April 2015. (Subscription needed)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Dod Procter". Cornwall Artists Index. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Catalogue entry, Morning (1926)". Tate. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d "Ernest Procter". Cornwall Artists Index. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Caroline Fox (1985). Painting in Newlyn 1900-1930. Newlyn Orion. ISBN 0950657948.
  7. ^ a b "The Modernists Journal Project, Ernest Procter". Brown University. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Ernest Procter". Penlee House Gallery and Museum. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  9. ^ Catherine Wallace (2002). Under the Open Sky - The Paintings of the Newlyn and Lamorna Artists 1880-1940 in the Public Collections of Cornwall and Plymouth. truran. ISBN 978 185022 168 5.
  10. ^ "Dod Procter". Penlee House Gallery and Museum. Penlee House Gallery and Museum Penzance Cornwall. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  11. ^ Samuel Love (7 August 2019). "Dod Procter: From Newlyn to the world". Art UK. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Christopher Lloyd (2011). In Search of a Masterpiece. An Art Lover's Guide to Great Britiain & Ireland. Themes & Hudson. ISBN 9780500238844.
  13. ^ Lucy Meretto Peterson (2018). The Women Who Inspired London Art, The Avico Sisters and Other Models of the Early 20th Century. Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 9781526725257.
  14. ^ Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2003. p. 1241. ISBN 978-0618252107.
  15. ^ a b Charlotte Higgins (21 October 2016). "Waking the gods: how the classical world cast its spell over British art". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  16. ^ a b Rhoda Koenig. "More than a one-hit wonder" Archived 29 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The First Post, p. 2. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  17. ^ Averil King. Apollo, "An exotic awakening", 1 January 2006. Retrieved from (registration required), 8 August 2008.
  18. ^ Elsie M. Lang, British Women in the Twentieth Century, Kessinger Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7661-6115-3
  19. ^ a b c d Alicia Foster (2004). Tate Women Artists. Tate Publishing. ISBN 1-85437-311-0.
  20. ^ "Dod Procter, RA Midge Bruford, The Model". Sotheby's. 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Display caption, The Orchard". Tate. August 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Display caption, The Kitchen at Myrtle Cottage". Tate. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  23. ^ Averil King (2005), Newlyn Flowers: The Floral Works of Dod Procter, RA. Philip Wilson Publishers, ISBN 0-85667-604-7
  24. ^ Alison James (2007). A Singular Vision: Dod Procter 1890-1972, Sansom & Company Ltd. ISBN 1-904537-78-2
  25. ^ a b "Dod Procter - Artworks." The Athenaeum - Interactive Humanities Online. 6 March. 2017.
  26. ^ "PROCTER, Dod". Oxford Art Online. Retrieved 3 April 2015. (Subscription)
  27. ^ Paintings by or after Dod Procter, Art UK. Retrieved 3 April 2015.

Further readingEdit

  • Cross, Tom (1996) Shining Sands: Artists in Newlyn and St Ives 1880-1930 Lutterworth Press. ISBN 0-7188-2925-5
  • Dod Procter RA, 1892-1972/ Ernest Procter ARA, 1886-1935. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1990. Organized by Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, in association with Newlyn Orion, Penzance. Published by Tyne and Wear Museums Service, Newcastle upon Tyne. 52 pp. with 86 ills. (8 col.). 26 x 22 cm. ISBN 0905974484 In English

External linksEdit