Private Collection

Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)

Prudence on Pegasus, 1937-38

SKU: 9164

Oil on canvas


40 ¼ x 50 in. (102 x 127 cm)

Height – 102cm
Width – 127cm


The Artist’s Private Collection; thence by descent

The wooden horse was found by the artist – ochreous in colour, hairless

and hanging from a nail in a back yard. My mother, Phyllis Dodd,

bought it and with my father (the artist Douglas Percy Bliss) transformed

it into a magical mother-of-pearl, with real horsehair for mane and tail

and real pony harness. On my return from kindergarten every afternoon

I was encouraged to sit on it. At first I viewed this command with

optimism, as a chance to rock, but a poker in the rockers prevented this

until all the sittings were over.

The painting was refused by the 1938 summer RA exhibition;

however, after Prudence’s jersey was brightened with a pattern, it was

not only accepted but hung on the line in 1939 and reproduced in

‚ÄúLilliput‚Äù with the head of George Bernard Shaw in place of her’s, under

the title of “Brighter Academy Pictures”. President Munnings, an equine

specialist, wrote to congratulate Francis Dodd RA, thinking he must be

Phyllis Dodd’s father, especially as both painters had settled in Blackheath

(which appears in the background). No relationship was ever discovered.

Phyllis Dodd maintained her maiden name when exhibiting and was

indignant to find that, while she was in the kitchen, her husband couldn’t

resist lending a hand’ by adding to the background, which was a view

from their shared studio window. The distant houses survive in Lee Park,

Blackheath, but their back gardens were developed as a housing estate

after the 1941 Blitz with 1950s housing, as was the Bliss’s home.

Commentary by Prudence Bliss, lecturer in Art History at the University of Newcastle between 1964–1996.

She is the daughter of Phyllis Dodd and Douglas Percy Bliss.

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Phyllis Dodd
1899 - 1995

Phyllis Dodd achieved considerable success from early on in
her prolific career. Studying at the Liverpool School of Art from
1917’21, she received a Royal Exhibition Scholarship and
attended the Royal College of Art for four years ‘ alongside Henry
Moore (1898’1986), Raymond Coxon (1896’1997) and Edna
Ginesi (1902’2000), with whom she would remain friends for the
rest of her life ‘ winning the Drawing Prize in her final year. 

From 1925 to 1930 she taught part-time at Walthamstow
Technical College. In 1928, she married the artist Douglas
Percy Bliss (1900’1984) and they worked alongside each other,
exhibiting together at Derby Art Gallery in 1947. She also
exhibited at the NEAC, the RA, the RP, the Walker Art Gallery
and the RSA, and in 1989 the Hatton Gallery at Newcastle
University held a large retrospective exhibition to celebrate her
ninetieth birthday.


Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Portrait of Tirzah Garwood, 1929
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Study of Baptising little Pearce 3, circa 1923
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Prudence on Pegasus, 1937-38
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Portrait of Douglas Percy Bliss
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Self Portrait, 1925
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Norah McGuinness, 1926
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Portrait of a Young Woman (possibly Muriel Minter), early 1920s
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Study for Baptising Little Pearce, 1923
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Norah McGuinness , 1924
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Olga Whitton
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
In the Pentlands, oil on George Rowney Birchmore Board
Phyllis Dodd (1899 - 1995)
Reading Boswell, 1947