Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 22.
Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.270.
Phyllis Dodd received a Royal Exhibition Scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art (RCA) for four
years, from 1921-25, alongside Henry Moore (1898-1986), Raymond Coxon (1896-1997) and Edna
Ginesi (1902-2000). In 1924, having achieved her Painting Diploma in two years (rather than three), she
embarked on a Scholarship in etching and aquatint, under Frank Short. One of her earliest etchings ‚Äì The
Beret ‚Äì shows a fellow student, Pindi, the pet name for Kathleen Bridle (1897-1989), who attended the
RCA from 1921-25. Bridle went on to work as a glass painter in the Dublin studio of Harry Clarke and
became one of the founders of the Ulster Unit in 1934. Frank Short insisted on draughtsmanship of the
highest order as a prerequisite for entry to his course but this offered no barrier to Dodd, who in her
fourth and final year won the drawing prize in the School of Painting. A confident self-portrait, dating to
1925, shows how well she mastered etching. The surviving drawing for the drypoint shows the process
by which an image was first conceived on paper and then engraved on to the copper plate, which when
printed appears in reverse. Unfortunately, she produced no more prints after leaving college despite
Short’s advice that she should concentrate on etching portraits because she was so fluently skilled in
these. It was good advice at the time, but after the Wall Street crash, interest in this medium collapsed
and never really recovered.