Billie Waters  - St ives Artist

1895 - 1965

Billie Waters  was born in Richmond, Surrey on 6th April, 1895, the daughter of a solicitor, the artist was officially named Phyllis Mary Waters. Known as `Billie', she studied under Henry Massey at Heatherley's School of Fine Art, and with Iain Macnab at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. 

Billie Waters was a relative of the famous Newlyn artist Ernest Procter he brought her to Newlyn in 1924 and turned her into a professional artist. He also made her his lover. She had a remarkable run of success at the Royal Academy showing every year from 1928 to 1944. Her animal prints sold in their thousands. She designed for Clarice Cliff as part of the Art In Industry Exhibition along with Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Dod Procter and Laura Knight. She illustrated an American children's book and  Clementine Churchill collected her work. In 1934 she was commissioned to paint mural decorations at the Knightsbridge Grille, and in August 1938 she featured in the 'Artists of Note' series in The Artist.

She continued to return to Cornwall on a regular basis throughout her life and moved there during WWII, living at 3 The Warren, St Ives. She was friends with Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the influence of these artists is very much evident in the work she produced in the war and post war period.  Like many artists, she was always short of money and endured much for her art. Billie was a pseudonym - nobody knew her real name and when she died nobody recognised Phyllis. And then a big surprise discovered 50 years after her death. A creative life, sad end but wonderful legacy in the paintings she left behind.

 Exhibited at Royal Academy, Goupil Gallery, SWA, NS of which she was a member, Leicester Galleries, ROI and Fine Art Society.