A Singular Vision: Dod Procter 1890-1972
Artist(s): Dod Procter
Author(s): Alison James
Year published: 2007
Publisher: Sansom & Company
Publisher Location: Bristol
Total Pages: 144
Illustrations: Illustrated throughout in colour
For a period in the 1920s Dod Procter was perhaps the most famous artist in Britain. Her painting of a reclining young woman, Morning, caught the public imagination when the Daily Mail purchased it ‘for the nation’ from the Royal Academy annual show in 1927.
Monumental figure paintings and sympathetic studies of the female form, from babies to young women, would be defining elements of her life’s work. But her unflinching nude paintings of pubescent girls proved problematical during her lifetime and are still controversial today.
As a teenage girl in 1907, Dod studied at the Forbes School of Painting, in Newlyn, where she met her future husband, Ernest Procter. The author of a Singular Vision sets their marriage against the background of having to paint for a living, a commission which took them to Burma and their return to Newlyn, where Dod enjoyed many artistic friendships. After Ernest’s early death in 1935, she travelled widely to Tenerife, the West Indies and Africa. The tender and exquisite portraits of the local children she painted on these trips were later to fall foul of post-colonial sensitivities. She always returned to Newlyn, where she lived and painted for the rest of her life.
The fame, even notoriety, of her nude studies have tended to obscure the importance of Dod’s other great pre-occupation – the painting of still lifes. Drawing on the flora in and around her Newlyn cottage, she painted exquisite flower studies, many of which are reproduced in this book.
Elected an RA, Dod’s great ambition was to have a major Royal Academy retrospective. This was not to be, as by the time of her death in 1972 artistic fashion had changed and Dod Procter’s work was out of favour. Only now is critical attention focussing again on her work, a process which will be accelerated by the publication of this timely book and the exhibition it accompanies at Penlee House Gallery, Penzance. Dedication from author. Fine
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