Phoebe Dingwall was born in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) in 1965. When she was 16 she went to life drawing classes at Edinburgh college of Art, being influenced by her parents who are both painters; Vivien Alexander and Kenneth Dingwall (who had met at Edinburgh college of art, and where Kenneth Dingwall was later to be head of painting there and then he went on to be director at Cleveland Institute of Art, U.S.A.).
In 1983, after having had been accepted to read fine art at Oxford University, she decided to go before that to study at the art college of Aix en Provence, France, where she went for a year out before going to study at Oxford University, (Balliol college) where she attended the Ruskin school of fine art and drawing and in 1986 got her degree there in fine art. While in the final year at Oxford Phoebe applied to the Royal Academy of Arts, London to do a postgraduate degree, she studied there for three years and received a master of Arts in 1989.
After the Royal Academy of arts Phoebe Dingwall received a French government scholarship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-arts, Paris, France. She was accepted there into the studio of Henri Cueco and in 1992 she received a first class degree with honours given by the jury Catherine Millet, Claude Viallat, Shirley Jaffe and Henri Cueco.