Dodds, James



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About James Dodds

James Dodds followed an apprenticeship as a shipwright in Maldon, Essex from 1972 to 1976. He studied at Colchester Institute from 1976 to 1977, the Chelsea School of Art from 1977 to 1980 and the Royal College of Art in London from 1981 to 1984. Dodds exhibits regularly at Bircham Contemporary Arts Gallery (Holt, Norfolk), Messum’s Fine Art Gallery (London), Hayletts Gallery (Maldon, Essex), North House Gallery (Manningtree, Essex) and Dowling Walsh Gallery (Maine USA).

His paintings and hand-made prints are inspired by boats and boat building, especially those craft peculiar to East Anglia. He had a major retrospective show, “Shipshape”, at Firstsite at The Minories, Colchester in November 2001. This show subsequently toured at Whitstable, Herne Bay, Kent, Frome, the Isle of Wight, Barnard Castle, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, Great Yarmouth and Hartlepool. Dodds’ work returned to Firstsite with a new exhibition called “Wood to Water”. A timelapse film of Dodds making a large painting for this show called Timepeace is on his website. On the 16 August 2016 Dodds received the John Nash medal from Colchester Art Society for his contribution to the arts.

His work has been purchased by Britten-Pears Library, Aldeburgh; Victoria and Albert Museum; Clacton & Rochford Hospitals; Chelmsford and Essex Museums; Ipswich Borough Council, Museums and Galleries; Colchester Borough Council; Horniman Museum, London. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UCS East Contemporary Art Collection; Ipswich, MMoFA, Madison, Georgia, USA; Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art; The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich and many private collectors. He is better known for his dramatic linocuts of coastal towns, nautical myths and legends, as well as his large paintings of various boats.

In July 2007 Dodds received an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex in recognition of his “distinguished contribution to the local community as an artist and defender of our community and natural heritage.” His style evokes the spirit of rural and maritime East Anglia with scenes of daily life and folklore. He has also conceived, illustrated and hand-produced a series of handmade artists’ books.

A short film, “Shaped by the Sea”, about Dodds, by Emily Harris for Classic Yacht TV was released in May 2014. Played Anthony’s father in Joanna Hogg’s Sundance Grand Jury winning Film The Souvenir


  • 1999 Awarded GMC Trust Best in Show ‘Aldeburgh Beach’
  • 2007 Honorary doctorate from University of Essex.
  • 2012 Ian Collins biography of James Dodds “Tide Lines” wins EDP Jarrolds East Anglian Art & Photography Book Award
  • 2016 John Nash medal from Colchester Art Society


Selected solo exhibitions

  • 1984/1995/1998/2000, Aldeburgh Festival
  • 1985, “Ship of Fools”, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 1986, “Fish, Flesh or Fowl”, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
  • 1989/1990/1995/1997, Printworks, Colchester
  • 1989/1992/1995, Bircham Contemporary Arts, Norfolk
  • 1990/1994/1995, Chappel Galleries, Essex
  • 1992, Sue Rankin Gallery, London Two man show with John Bratby RA
  • 2001, North House Gallery, Manningtree with John Reay “Blue Boat”. University of Essex Gallery
  • 2004/ 2006/ 2007/ 2009/ 2011/ 2013 /2015/ 2016/ 2017/ 2018 Messum’s. Cork Street. London
  • 2010/ 2012/ 2017Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, Maine. USA
  • 2015-2016 Wood to Water, Firstsite,Colchester
  • 2019-2020 Wood to Water, National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Selected group exhibitions

  • 1991/1998/1999/2000, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
  • 1993, Wetzlar, Germany
  • 1994, John Callahan Gallery, Boston, United States
  • 1995, “4 from Wivenhoe”. Courcoux & Courcoux, Hampshire “Ultra Marine”, Liverpool “Forth, Tyne, Dogger”, Brewery Arts, Cirencester
  • 1996, Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University “The Sea”, Black Swan Arts, Frome
  • 1997, City Arts Gallery. Leeds Union of Artists, St. Petersburg, Russia Mall Gallery, London
  • 1999, Eastern Open. King’s Lynn Arts Centre, Norfolk Mystic Seaport. USA: New York Ship Terminal, United States
  • 2000, The Hunting Art Prizes. London
  • 2000, “Alphabet Soup”. Printworks, Sudbury, Suffolk
  • 2001/2003,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011, Messum’s Cork Street. London
  • 2013, “Masterpieces,Art and East Anglia” Sainsbury Centre, Norwich.

Find out more

Instagram: @doddsjamie