100% cotton tea towel featuring artwork The Progress of a Soul: The Entrance by Phoebe Anna Traquair, from the National Galleries of Scotland collection. Artwork printed on one side.
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.
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 was among the first women to be made an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy.