Dora Billington was born in Stoke on Trent into a family of potters. She trained in Stoke and later at the Royal College of Art in London where she went on to teach. In 1919 she was appointed to teach ceramic design at the Central School of Arts and Craft, where she remained until her retirement in 1955. She is now recognised as having been a charismatic and influential teacher, emphasising the importance of hand-building and individual expression. She was President of the Arts & Crafts Society (1940-1956). Her book, The Art of The Potter, was first published in 1937 and was an innovative blend of the history of ceramics and technical information on ceramic practice. She also wrote several other significant articles for The Studio and other publications. Never a slavish follower of the orientalist philosophies of Bernard Leach, she supported the modernist trends of the 1950s as seen in the work of Picasso and British practitioners such as Bill Newland and colleagues.