Sam Dodwell discovered painting at an early age and at the age of 18, while visiting Cornwall on holiday, decided that the county would be his future home. He was initially prevented from this ambition by family pressure and by the Depression, and took up a career in banking. He rose to the top of a US bank in London and served through World War II as an RAF Squadron Leader. After a major heart operation, he turned to his first love of painting. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (of which he was an elected member). He was closely associated with the Mid-Cornwall Galleries at St Blazey Gate from their creation in 1980; he is commemorated at this venue by a Sam Dodwell Gallery. A major retrospective exhibition, including some 50 of his works, was staged there in February 2007. He also gave painting lessons to Prince Charles.