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Hayletts Gallery

Biography for James Dodds RCA (1957)

James Dodds, is arguable East Anglia’s most celebrated contemporary artist. In 2001 he had a major retrospective show, “Shipshape”, at The Minories in Colchester. The show subsequently toured Whitstable, Herne Bay, Frome, the Isle of Wight, Barnard Castle, the National Maritime Museum of Cornwall, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, Great Yarmouth and Hartlepool. 

In 2015 he returned to Firstsite, in its new building in Colchester with another substantial exhibition, “Wood to Water”.  His work has been purchased by Britten-Pears Library, Aldeburgh, The V&A Museum, London, Ipswich Museum and more. In 2007 James was made an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.

Dodds was born in Brightlingsea, Essex in 1957, James started his career qualifying as a shipwright at Walter Cook and Sons in Maldon, Essex –only many years later to come full circle with his third exhibition of his artworks at Hayletts Gallery in Maldon.

However it was only after a struggle years ago when on completion of his shipwright apprenticeship James was torn between his love of art and his love of the boat building, but finally his passion for art won through and he went on to study at Chelsea School of Art and Royal College of Art, London.

Since then he has never looked back as his career has gone from strength to strength.  James is now recognised as a leading artist both nationally and internationally. He is also represented by Messums, a Cork Street Gallery in London and locally at Hayletts Gallery.  He has collaborated as an artist on many books with other artists and recognized poets, but now a biography written by art historian Ian Collins about his life and influences has recently been published called ‘Tidelines’. This comprehensive hardback offers the reader a full picture of how this artist has grown and reached this point in his life. . In 2007 James was made an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the local community as an artist.

In all of James’s pictures there is a gentle narrative of an artist who is intrigued by how the past meets the present. He portrays people, places and stories which resonate with his own life and growing up. East Anglia locations especially feature including images of Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe, Rowhedge, Southwold, and Cromer to name a few. As a shipwright he still holds a particular fascination with working boatyards and old fishing towns drawn to ancient sea myths and legends..


Awarded GMC Trust Best in Show 'Aldeburgh Beach'


Hayletts Gallery, Oakwood House, 2 High Street, Maldon, Essex CM9 5PJ

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