Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Phoebe Anna Traquair Murals

Phoebe Anna Traquair was born in Dublin in 1852 and died in Edinburgh in 1936. As a young woman she studied art at the Royal Dublin Society,later moving to Edinburgh with her Scottish palaeontologist husband Dr. Ramsay Heatley Traquair,with whom she had three children.

  She is remembered as one of the prominent artists in the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement. A painter illustrator,embroiderer and enammeller,in 1904 examples of her work were exhibited at the World's Fair in St Louis. Byzantine,Pre-Raphaelite and Italian Renaissance art were sources of inspiration for her work.

Towards the end of the 19th century Phoebe was commissioned to paint these murals in the recently built Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh's Neo-Classical New Town.This massive undertaking took her eight years,working on scaffolding and only when the light was good. 

Central to the beliefs of the Catholic Apostolics was the expectation of the imminent Second Coming of Christ. The atmosphere in the church was one of joyful celebration. Services contained elaborate ritual,processions,rich vestments,incense,spiritually uplifting music and singing.

After the Catholic Apostolic congregation moved out in 1958 the building fell into a state of disrepair eventually facing possible demolition. In the 1990s a group of concerned people set up a Friends organisation with the objective of rescuing and restoring the building and the murals. What you see here is the result of a massive interior and exterior restoration project.

The building now functions as the Mansfield Traquair Centre.   

This ceiling depicting the Tree of Life was partly designed by Pheobe but not painted by her.

 The baldacchino designed by the architect of the building.

This is really beautiful,like an elaborately decorated cake.

Rounded arches characteristic of the Romanesque style.

At the Second Coming of Christ an angel is assigned to each soul to assist them on their journey.

The former church,designed in the Neo- Romanesque style by architect Sir Robert Rowland Anderson
 was completed in 1885.

The buildings opposite are part of the city centre New Town development dating from around 1800.

The termination of the nave is of semi-circular design,common in Romanesque architecture.


sharon said...

thank you very informative...I cant wait to go

Charlotte said...

That is quite breath taking. Well done to those volunteers for a magnificent job in saving such a treasure

olga-rani said...

Very beautiful and impressive!

biebkriebels said...

What a great relieve the building was spared by the people. You can't demolish such a beauty. The paintings are beautiful, so romantic.

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. So glad to note the church and the murals have been restored. The interiors look spectacular and the exteriors magnificent.

cosmos said...

Beautiful murals in a gorgeous building. It was so good the church building was brought to life again thanks to the initiative taken by a group of the concerned.
Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais was one of her inspiration, right?
Thank you for sharing, Ruby.

Red Rose. said...

Those photos are very powerful.So I feel as if I am standing in the church,seeing the murals first hand. The arched poles and the baldacchino are splendid. I am also interested in the fourteenth photo, which is showing a beautifully blended church into the city.
Have a good weekend.

sarah said...

As you say I remembered the work of Botticelli. I like it.
The building is massive outside but inside it's so lovely.
Thank you for sharing the beautiful church.
Have a good day!

Palomasea said...

Stunning, dear Ruby!
Thank you for sharing this...her work is ethereal, and those colors! I will be researching more about her...
The church is splendid! Thank goodness it has been rescued...

I thank you so much for coming by for a dance! :)
It is one of my greatest passions...
Blessings, and wishes for a beautiful Sunday,
- Irina

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Ruby, as soon as I saw the colors and the murals of this church, it reminded me of your color palate and intensity. How spectacular that this wonderful building and art have been preserved. The exterior is impressive, but the interior is inspiring!


Lynn said...

Unbelievably gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this - I didn't know of the church - it's given me yet another reason to re-visit Edinburgh one of these days.

I had the same reaction as Genie - the colours and their vibrancy reminded me of yours. Beautiful!

dritanje said...

you've taken brilliant photos of this fabulous art work, well done!
Morelle xx

Sciarada said...

Ciao Ruby, an artist with a delicate touch!
Have a excellent day!

stardust said...

Glad to know the building was restored so nice. I like Phoebe’s murals with soft and a little modern touch. The flowers, berries, and leaves surrounding the angels (8th image) remind me of the design of William Morris. The surrounding area has lovely atmosphere which made me want to stroll around in person. Thanks for sharing, Ruby.

I had thought I posted a comment and was surprised to find no comment from me. Sorry to be late.


Virginia said...

The restoration is impeccable. I would love to see the interior in person but you have done a wonderful job capturing its beauty for us.

rebecca said...

be still my heart!!!

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