Dod Procter

(1890—1972) painter

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British painter of portraits, figure subjects, landscapes, and flowers, born Doris Shaw in London. She studied under Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn, 1907–10, and then at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. In 1912 she married the painter ErnestProcter (1886–1935), who had been a fellow student in Newlyn and Paris. They lived mainly in Newlyn. Dod is now remembered mainly for one work—Morning (1926, Tate). The Daily Mail bought it for the nation when it was on show at Newlyn Art Gallery, and in 1927 it was voted ‘picture of the year’ at the Royal Academy summer exhibition. Dod returned in triumph to Newlyn, where she was greeted by flags and a brass band, and the painting went on a tour of provincial galleries. It shows Cissie Barnes, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a local fish merchant, lying sleeping on her bed in the dawn light. Simon Wilson remarks that ‘Its power as a painting certainly partly stems from its strong atmosphere of burgeoning adolescent sexuality, although this does not seem to have been acknowledged at the time’ (Tate Gallery: An Illustrated Companion, 1990). In the 1930s Dod's style became much softer and more painterly. She continued working into old age, and when she died in Newlyn in 1972 she was the last link with the village's great artistic flowering at the turn of the century.

Ernest Procter's range of subjects was similar to that of his wife, but his figure paintings leaned more towards allegorical and religious themes (he was a devout Christian) and he did a good deal of decorative work, including a remarkable composition for the altar wall of St Mary's Church, Penzance (now destroyed). Nikolaus Pevsner describes it as ‘a spectacular affair of 1934, with a whole prospect including the heavenly host, a corrugated silvery backcloth, jagged rays; all smacking a little of the Wurlitzer’ (Buildings of England: Cornwall, 1970). In 1934 Ernest was appointed director of studies in design and craft at Glasgow School of Art, but he died the following year.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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