Born in London and at the age of 15 came to Newlyn with her mother and brother, Gerard, to study at the FORBES SCHOOL. Elizabeth FORBES arranged their accommodation at Myrtle Cottage ('the Myrtage'), together with Tennyson JESSE and her cousin Cicely JESSE.
In 1910 both Ernest PROCTER and Dod Shaw attended the Atelier Colarossi in Paris, following which they married in 1912 at Paul Church. Their only son, Bill, was born in 1913, the same year as she first exhibited at the RA. In 1920 she and Ernest were commissioned to work on the decorations of the Kokine Palace, Rangoon. Both also made designs which were used for decorative etching on crystal. On their return to Newlyn, the couple took up residence at North Corner, Newlyn where they remained.
From that time she concentrated on painting mainly figures. Her most famous painting, Morning (RA 1927) caused a national sensation. It is a large portrait of a reclining Cissie Barnes, a local fisherman's daughter. This work was bought by the Daily Mail for the nation, and is today in the Tate collection. After Ernest's death in 1935, she travelled to America and Canada.
In 1938, deciding to move to Zennor nearer her friend Alethea GARSTIN, her style and technique changed direction under the influence of the latter, and she began to paint in a looser fashion.
In 1942, she was elected as a full Royal Academician.
In 1945 she illustrated (coloured frontispiece and line drawings) a story by Clare Collas, A Penny for the Guy.
With Jeanne DU MAURIER she holidayed in Tenerife in 1946, and in 1948 they went to Africa. During the 1950s she spent some time in Jamaica where she painted mainly children. At home she continued with still life, exhibiting regularly at the RA. She is buried at St Hilary Churchyard, with her husband, Ernest.