Phoebe Anna Traquair

The Progress of a Soul: The Entrance (1895)

About this artwork

This richly coloured and detailed embroidery is the first in a series of four called 'The Progress of a Soul'. The human soul is represented by an ideal young man dressed in an animal skin, in harmony with the rich pattern of the luxuriant natural world around him. Here in 'The Entrance', completed in 1895, he is full of hope and enthusiasm, blissfully ignorant of life's realities. This figure was based on the character of Denys L'Auxerrois from 'Imaginary Portraits' by the English critic and writer Walter Pater. 'The Victory', the last embroidery in the series, was finished in 1902.

Phoebe Anna Traquair

Phoebe Anna Traquair

Traquair's murals, easel paintings, embroideries, book illustrations and jewellery brought her international recognition, as one of the most accomplished artists of the Arts and Crafts movement. She was originally from Dublin but moved to Edinburgh after her marriage to Dr Ramsay Traquair, Keeper of Natural History at the Royal Scottish Museum. She played a significant and practical role in the promotion of decorative art in public buildings, for example, through her murals in the Sick Children's Hospital. In 1920 Traquair became the first woman member of the Royal Scottish Academy.