Morning (1926)


As discussed before, this is the main piece we are inspired by to create our first project outcome from.

Dod Procter (Doris Margaret Shaw)

English artist; 1922 began painting simple, monumental portraits of young women that she knew; inspired by the ‘fall of light across figures to create a sense of volume’.

The famous painting ‘Morning’ created in 1926, is oil on canvas. The subject of the painting is a young 16 year old female, lying on a bed with day light pouring in from a window to her right. The young female, Cissie Barnes, was the daughter of a fisherman in the town Newlyn, where Procter grew up.

Voted Picture of the year at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1927 and bought for ‘public consumption’.

Brief analysis of the piece ‘Morning’

  • Monochrome with the exception of skin tones; creates a dull, thought provoking emotion for the viewer.
  • Compliments the subject of the piece; a young woman looking emancipated on a bed.
  • Greys and whites suggest connotations of death, grief, a time of deep sadness.
  • Painted of a 16 year old female, however the woman appears much older in the painting.
  • The side angle of the painting allows the viewers to see the body in full. The woman lies horizontally on the bed; Procter has painted her this way so that the whole body can be seen.
  • Day light pours in from the right side of her body; suggesting that there is no curtains or that they have been left open to reveal the morning light.
  • Body is uncovered and relaxed on the bed.
  • The uncovering of the body could be deliberate in order to reveal that she is tired/emancipated or could suggest connotations of vulnerability.
  • Emancipated: the woman in the bed appears to be older than 16. This shows in her face and in her figure. When discussing words to describe how she looks, emancipated appears too strong for a 16 year old girl. Why does she look tired? What has made her exhausted? Daily routine? Does she have to care for someone? Is she a mother?
  • When researching the painting, I came across a text that stated that Cissie experienced the loss of her mother at only 2 days old. The title of the painting ‘morning’ could be altered to mean ‘mourning’ linking to the death of her mother when she was young.


‘The expression of sorrow for someones death’ ; grief, weeping, sorrow. -‘The actions or expressions of one who has suffered bereavement’ -Predominantly associated with wearing black; dark colours as a sign of respect for those we have lost.

The Five Stages of Mourning

The five stages of mourning was first developed by Elizabeth Kugler-Ross in her book ‘On death and dying’. Within this, she discusses the five stages of mourning/grief. Although not accurate through research, many people experience these stages, not necessarily in a particular order.

  • Denial; the first of the five stages or mourning
  • Anger; when a person recognises that denial cannot go on. Blames themselves/others.
  • Bargaining; the hope that the individual can avoid grief.
  • Depression; silence. Spend time being mournful.
  • Acceptance; calm, retrospective view for the individual.

Idea development linked to mourning

Looking at the five stages in mourning e.g. denial, anger. Linking this to the idea of light/shadow transformations throughout the day into night. Reflections of light and shadows on sculptures, human bodies, architecture, forms how light changes throughout time and the different processes; its effects on bodies, architecture reflect the five stages of mourning through the transformation of light to dark.

Contrasting Opinions…

Through the case of colour psychology, there is a contradiction to the interpretation of the piece as well.

Colour affects people’s mood depending on the subject and context as well.

  • White is normally associated with innocence, purity and virginity.
  • It also creates a sense of tranquillity.

Whitfield, T. W. A., & Wiltshire, T. J. (1990). “Color psychology: A critical review”. Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs.

There is no strong contrast in colour so it’s not eye-catching. But from this, people enjoy the simplicity of this picture, which is how us, as a group, ended up choosing this piece.

This lady is wearing a white cloth, casually lying on the bed. Face looking composed, her expression shows that she is still comfortably asleep or she’s enjoying the morning light.


In comparison to ‘Morning’ is another painting by Procter, ‘The Orchard’. Unlike ‘Morning’, this painting has brighter colours. The whole piece is more vivid compared to ‘Morning’ which gives the audience a sense of joy and freshness. However, the surrounding of the model uses the same vibrant green thus drawing the audience’s attention to the model in her pale colours. There is a similarity between the simplicity of colour scheming used on the model but what differs the two apart is the vibrancy here compared to the recurring light in ‘Morning’.
But a major point that both paintings follow is the focusing of light through natural lighting.

Historical Background in Inspiration

With her mother being an artist, Procter grew up in a world heavily influenced by art. She studied art at Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn and later went on to study at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris, where she ‘was inspired by the impressionist and post-impressionist painters, especially Cézanne and Renoir’

Impressionism is a ‘French art movement of the second half of the nineteenth century’ used to ‘represent the first impression of an object upon the viewer’.


Cézanne and Renoir both mostly painted still life art and relied on the emotional connection of the viewer on the painting subject at that moment in time. Later on in Renoir’s career he painted many figure paintings of women, which may have been part of Procter’s inspiration to paint Cissie Barnes (the girl in the painting of ‘Morning’).


Procter lived a healthy and happy life, growing up in a wealthy seaside town with a popular harbour that enabled goods to be exported at any tide, boosting the local economy. With the increase of local profit, the Newlyn School of Arts was funded, giving Procter a means to practise and perfect her artistic abilities.