Doris, or Dod, Procter was born in London in 1890, her father was a ship’s doctor and her mother an artist who had studied at the Slade. The family moved to Devon when she was young and, in 1907, from there to Cornwall where she studied under Stanhope Forbes. Fellow students included Ernest Procter whom she later married and Laura Knight who became a lifelong friend. In 1910 she moved to Paris to study at the Atelier Colarossi and returned with Ernest to Newlyn in 1912, the year in which they married. They had their first joint exhibition of watercolours at the Fine Art Society the following year.
From the early 1920s, Procter began painting a series of portraits of young women, depicted in a simplified and monumental manner with an almost sculptural quality. She had her second joint exhibition with her husband in 1926, at the Leicester Galleries and the following year the artist’s painting of the daughter of a Newlyn fisherman, entitled Morning, was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and was voted picture of the year. It was bought for the nation by the Daily Mail and following a tour around Britain and to New York was given to the Tate, where it now hangs. She became a member of the New English Art Club in 1929, exhibiting with them regularly until 1932. She also became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1934, the third woman to do so, and she was made Royal Academician in 1942.
Procter’s favourite subject was women although she also produced several paintings of flowers, particularly during the Second World War when she was painting in Ireland. She travelled and exhibited extensively, showing at the Carnegie Institute’s International Exhibitions in Pittsburgh and the Carl Fischer Gallery in New York. She died in Newlyn in 1972.