20/10/13 Aggiornato il:

Phoebe Anna Traquair | Arts and Crafts Movement painter





Inspired and visionary woman of her time, Phoebe Anna Traquair spent eight years of her life creating the herculean works which earned Mansfield Traquair the title of “Edinburgh’s Sistine Chapel”.
Her vivid, striking and truly beautiful murals interpret religious scenes, inspired by Blake and Renaissance, and reflect her status as an eminent figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Born in Dublin, Phoebe Anna Moss (1852-1936) married Scots palaeontologist Dr Ramsay Traquair in 1873, and moved to Edinburgh the following year.






Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) was an Irish painter who rose to prominence in Edinburgh and went on to produce a staggering volume of work. She was part of the Arts and Crafts movements in Scotland and worked in a number of disciplines including embroidery, jewellery making and metal work, painting, illustration and book design. She painted vast murals in several buildings including the Catholic Apostolic Church and the chapel of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, both in Edinburgh. Well-educated for a woman of her time, she was trained in art and her style reflected the influence of Celtic illuminated manuscripts and Pre-Raphaelitism. She was inspired by the Romantic poet, artist and religious visionary William Blake, and by Italian Renaissance art – an influence her visits to Italy in 1889 and 1894 would have encouraged further.
Traquair became an eminent figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. She was known for her embroidery, enamelling and illumination – amongst other crafts – but it was to be her murals that would bring her fame.
It was in 1892 that she was commissioned to decorate the interior of the then Catholic Apostolic church with figurative, religious scenes. The Church provided scaffolding, met the cost of her tools and materials, and also paid her an unknown fee – the first time Traquair had received payment for her work.
She began work on the murals in 1893, and completed the work in 1901. Phoebe Anna Traquair is now forever indelibly linked with Mansfield through the transformation of the interior with her vivid and striking interpretations of religious scenes and imagery.

Notably, she illuminated the book "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by the poet Elizabeth Barratt Browning, but she is probably best known today for her exquisite embroidered panels and drapes, the most spectacular of which "The Progress of a Soul" (part of which is seen above) now resides in the National Gallery of Scotland in Ediburgh.
Traquair is a unique figure in both British Art and the Arts and Crafts movement, and she has been identified as the first significant professional woman artist in modern Scotland.













Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) e' stata una pittrice e intellettuale irlandese.
Phoebe nacque dalla famiglia Moss, nella Contea di Dublino, in Irlanda, nel 1852, sesta dei sette figli del medico William. Uno dei suoi fratelli maggiori era un raffinato collezionista d’arte, che possedeva un gran numero dei dipinti di Dante Gabriel Rossetti, l’arte del quale esercitò una notevole influenza sulla giovane Phoebe. Costei, ventenne, sposò il paleontologo scozzese Traquair e lo seguì a Edimburgo, dove eseguì numerosi disegni ispirati al lavoro del marito. La sua bravura non tardò ad attirare l’attenzione, tanto che tra il 1885-1901 dipinse gli interni di alcuni importanti edifici edimburghesi, tra cui il Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in cui furono inclusi anche i "murali funebri" dipinti a Meadowside House. Phoebe scelse di ornare la cappella mortuaria con pitture che illustravano la redenzione dell’umanità.
Phobe si cimentò anche nell’arte del manoscritto miniato celebri le illustrazioni dei Sonetti dal Portoghese di Elizabeth Barret Browning.
Phoebe morì nel 1936; la pietra della tomba in cui riposa fu disegnata da lei stessa.
all’epoca ottenne entusiastici apprezzamenti anche pubblici. Per esempio il suo lavoro murale alla Catholic Apostolic Church fu soprannominato "la Cappella Sistina di Edimburgo".
Forse il vero problema è che Phoebe fece troppe cose e tutte benissimo. Tra l’altro, fu "illuminatore", cioè esecutrice di manoscritti miniati: tra i più famosi si ricordano "Sonnets from the Portuguese" and "The House of Life", "In Memoriam", "Saul", "Defence of Guinevere" e perfino 'La Vita Nuova' di Dante.