Thursday, September 11, 2014


In 2006 Dr. Lauder Brunton walked into the Lyghtesome Art Gallery in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada with a Phoebe Traquair drawing that he wanted cleaned and framed. The Lyghtesome owners, Elizabeth and Jeffrey Parker, had been to Scotland and had seen Phoebe Traquair's embroideries in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, so when they saw her name written on this drawing, they were intrigued and told me about it. My husband and I were teaching in London at the time. I knew that Phoebe Traquair (1852-1936) had worked in Edinburgh and in England, but why had one of her drawings ended up in Canada, and was it a drawing made for its own sake or was it related to one of her projects? When I searched through her painted figures for three that matched the heads on the drawing, I found a large mural of many figures that she painted in a family chapel in England between 1920-22. My husband drove us the 3-hour trip through the New Forest to that family chapel, the church of All Saints in Thorney Hill. There on the apse wall were the exact same figures whose heads appeared in the drawing! The mural entitled Te Deum Laudamus in that church had three saints whose heads matched identically those in the drawing, and in the painting they were placed in the same relationship with one another as they were in the drawing. While visiting All Saints, the beauty of its architecture and sculpture became apparent, and I could see that Phoebe Traquair's painting was part of a larger art work with specific family patronage. What I discovered later through research was that this drawing of three heads was one of the very few extant preparatory drawings that Phoebe Traquair (1852-1936) had ever made. My excitement about those discoveries has led to 7 blog entries about the painting, about the church, and about the artist. It is time to publish one more about the drawing itself. This blog is the first time the drawing has been published anywhere. Any subsequent use of the material should acknowledge this blog address:

 Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) painted the apse of the Manners’ family church of All Saints (fig.2)


Fig. 1 –Phoebe Traquair, Te Deum Laudamus, apse mural,1920-22, All Saints’ Church, Thorney Hill, Hants., England, (author’s photo, 2006). (Grey sections are conservation paper). 
Fig. 2 – Detmar Blow, All Saints, 1906, Thorney Hill, Bransgore, Hampshire, England (author’s photo, 2006; apse chapel to left in exterior photo).

in Thorney Hill, England between 1920 and 1922[1]. The subject of her painting is the Te Deum Laudamus from the Book of Common Prayer. For the visual illustration of the prayer Traquair divides the apse wall into three sections:  heaven, earth, and a decorative base. In the earth section

she organizes the composition as a sacra conversazione, a group of figures sharing space with the Holy Family. That group includes portraits of the Manners as well as artists, scientists, and friends.[2]
        The All Saints mural comes at the end of Traquair’s illustrious career. Her reputation had been well established in Edinburgh with three major church murals in the 1880-90’s, and she received admission to the Scottish Royal Academy in 1920, the same year in which the Thorney Hill work was begun. Her fame stayed largely in Scotland until 1993 when Dr. Elizabeth Cumming mounted an exhibition in Edinburgh of her oeuvre and published three subsequent books about her.[3] 
        Until now, no Traquair drawings have been associated with her wall painting in All Saints.[4] A lifesize drawing in charcoal of three saints’ heads (444 x 726mm) has recently surfaced in Nova Scotia, Canada.  It is a Traquair drawing directly connected to her All Saints’ apse mural.[5] The Nova Scotia drawing is of three portrait heads from the sacra conversazione.  
 Phoebe Traquair, Drawing of Three Saints, 1920-22, private collection, Canada; photo by Jeffrey Parker of Lyghtesome Gallery, Antigonish, N.S., Canada, 2009

Phoebe Traquair, Three heads of Saints, earth section of Te Deum Laudamus mural, All Saints Church, Thorney Hill, Hants., England, 1920-22 (Author’s photo, 2012).

Phoebe Traquair, earth section of Te Deum Laudamus mural in All Saints Church, Thorney Hill, Hants., England, 1920-22 (author’s photo, 2012).


       The Traquair drawing has an impressive provenance. It went from the hand of the artist to her son and then through three known subsequent owners after his death. The passage from mother to son is dated 1923 right on the drawing which makes the date of the drawing itself sometime between 1920 and 1923.[6] A pencil inscription in the lower righthand corner says: Mrs. P.A Traquair  Avon Tyrrel.[sic] Hants / to RT. 1923

and another inscription on the verso says:   Original Study for two heads of Saints  in Avon Tyrrel[sic] Church Hants, by / Mrs P.A Traquair.  Given by her to / me November 3 1923.  Ramsay Traquair / McGill University.[7] The first inscription is most likely by the artist herself, the second by her son. Ramsay Traquair, (RT) (1874-1952), an architect who immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1913. He taught at McGill University in Montreal and summered in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. In 1923, then, a year after Phoebe Traquair completed the Thorney Hill mural, we can presume from the inscription that her son owned the drawing. Since Phoebe Traquair died in 1936, Ramsay had it 13 years before her death. We do not know where he received the drawing since that is not recorded. But the drawing crossed the ocean in the period between 1920 and 1952. We have no record that the artist herself crossed the Atlantic, but since she did travel widely and both her children were in Canada, further scholarship is needed.
        Sometime before his own death in Guysborough in 1952, Ramsay gave the drawing to his good friend, Dr. Lauder Brunton, who also lived in Guysborough. According to the appraisal written by Lyghtesome Gallery (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) in 2008 (APPENDIX I), Dr. Brunton initially endowed the drawing as a gift to the Anglican Church in Guysborough, but took it back when he saw it was not being cared for properly.[8] When he died in 2007, his will entrusted the drawing to his personal assistant, David Andrew, who then sold it to an anonymous buyer when Dr. Brunton’s estate was put on the market in 2009. It is currently in that anonymous owner’s private collection.[9]


      The Nova Scotia drawing by Traquair[10]depicts three heads of Saints. One only has to put the drawing next to three painted heads from the earth section of her Te Deum in All Saints to see that the features of the heads are identical and that all three wear haloes. In both drawing and painting the measure of the heads is approximately lifesize (8” head height). The portraits in the drawing are carried out in charcoal with red and white highlights, in the painting with an oil paint/turpentine mixture on dry layers of lead-white paint.[11]
      The three heads appear together in the same order in the painting near the center of the figural "earth" group. The three saints are to the left of Mary and the Christ Child.[12] From left to right in the painting the three saints are: a wide-eyed younger man, a middle-aged woman sandwiched between the two men, and an older man with white beard (reddish in the drawing). 
Phoebe Traquair, closeup of three saints, Te Deum Laudamus, 1920-22, All Saints, Thorney Hill, England.
  Phoebe Traquair, Drawing of Three Saints, 1920-22, private collection, Canada; photo by Jeffrey Parker of Lyghtesome Gallery, Antigonish, N.S., Canada, 2009

       In both drawing and painting the far left younger man has a high receding hairline with curled wisps of hair above it; the woman has her hair tied back, her mouth open, and she looks up at the same angle; and the bearded older man on far right is shown at ¾ angle from his right side and has hair parted on his proper left. His glance is similar in both drawing and painting, too.
       The younger man on the far left shows the only slight difference, apart from color, between drawing and painting. In the drawing the young man’s eyes are more generally aimed outward toward an unknown object; in the painting, they are aimed leftward and upward toward the dove of the Holy Spirit in the sky. The faces of the saints in the drawing resemble the faces in the painting and they both appear to be by the same hand and about the same size.[13]


      The man on the left is William Blake (1757-1827), the poet and painter, whom Phoebe Traquair admired, and whose 1807 portrait by Thomas Phillips she must have known since the drawing resembles it.[14] Blake would have been age 50 in the Phillips portrait, and although he has some grey hair in Traquair’s version, he appears younger, with fewer wrinkles. His wide-open earnest gaze and pursed lips are features present in both the earlier painted portrait as well as in Traquair’s drawn and painted portraits.[15] 


Head of Blake in Traquair Te Deum mural, 1920-22 vs. Thomas Phillips, William Blake, oil portrait, 1807, National Portrait Gallery, London (photo permission of NPGL).
 Traquair seems to be paying homage to her great mentor by including him as a younger writer and saint here, probably St. John the Evangelist since St. John’s symbol, an eagle, crouches beneath this figure in the painting. Also in the painting this figure holds a quill pen and book, appropriate both for St. John (who wrote one of the Gospels) and Blake (a poet and illuminator whose designs were models for Traquair when she illuminated books herself).[16]
      The bearded man on the right in the drawing


Head of Bishop William Cecil, Phoebe Traquair drawing. Traquair, Painted head of Bishop Cecil, Te Deum, All Saints, Thorney Hill, 1920-22.
William Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Bishop of Exeter, Photo by Walter Stoneman, bromide print, 1933, NPG x166493, (permission from NPGL).

is a portrait of the Bishop William Cecil, Lord Bishop of Exeter during the period in which Traquair was painting. William Gascoyne-Cecil (1863-1936) was the second son of a Prime Minister, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury. We owe the identification of this figure to the research of Burn and Elkins.[17] Canon Elkins knew Lady Mary Manners (wife of Francis Manners, the heir in 1921) before she died in 1994, and she told him that this figure is a portrait of her father, Bishop Cecil, a fact confirmed by the photo comparison [18] Since she was present in the apse while Traquair was painting the mural, she is a direct source for the identity of this figure.
       In the painting the Bishop is portrayed as St. Joseph with a book. His robe nearly touches the robe of the Virgin, and he faces the Mother and Child, forming a Holy Family group with them at the center of the composition.
  As a Bishop, Cecil is an excellent choice to represent a holy father figure. In 1920 he was 57, an appropriate age for Joseph, who is usually depicted as an old man with a white beard. While St. Joseph traditionally has a staff in painted images, there are other examples in art history where Joseph carries a book.[19] Since this Bishop once said that the Bible was “an awkward book,” the attribute here is appropriate to remind us of his phrase.[20]
         Cecil was Bishop of Exeter from 1916 to 1936. In his diocese he was known as “Love in a Mist” because of a most loving personality combined with absent-mindedness.[21]  The drawing combines the hard-edged lines of his face and hair with wispy or "misty"- edged lines for his beard, so presumably the artist knew of the epithet. Bishop Cecil in 1921 is the father-in-law of Francis Manners, the heir of Avon Tyrrell, who is portrayed as the baby, the Christ Child, next to him in the painting, so the Bishop is appropriate for the role of Joseph for that reason as well, not the father but almost.[22]
        For me the third figure in drawing and painting, the woman half-hidden between the two men in both the drawing and the painting is the artist, Phoebe Traquair herself. She has given herself what is ostensibly a modest position behind two more prominent men, but she has a halo, too, and she has placed herself at the center of the sacra conversazione, viewable from the front and not on the sides. If you compare her face with Traquair's self-portrait and other self-portrait images in her other works, the similarity is striking. She is an artist known, as most artists, for inserting her image into her works.  

Phoebe Traquair, Photograph, 1890, SNPG (photo permission the SNPG).

              Phoebe Traquair, Self-Portrait, oil on panel, 1911, SNPG (photo permission  of SNPG)


 Left:  Phoebe Traquair, Self-portrait, pencil on paper, part of Drawing of Heads of Three Saints, drawing in Nova Scotia, Canada, private ownership, 1920-23, (photo by Jeff Parker, Lyghtesome Gallery, Nova Scotia, Canada.)
Right: Phoebe Traquair, Self-portrait within earth section of Te Deum Laudamus, All Saints, Thorney Hill, Hants., 1920-22. (Author’s photo).

The features are of a middle-aged woman with long oval-shaped face, reddish hair (in the painting), eyes raised to heaven, and mouth open in prayer or singing. Traquair seems to be much younger than 68, her age in 1920. We have a photo of her in her 40’s and a self-portrait in her late 50’s (the oil self-portrait done on panel 1909-1911 now in the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland (PG 1594)) to compare with the drawing and painting and in the All Saints’ drawing and painting she seems to be about 35 years old, consistent with the younger ages of the Manners family in the same mural. The intense observant look in her eyes, her auburn hair, and her determined mouth in both the oil self-portrait and the photograph make her identity clear.[23  She is dressed in red, as Mary Magdalene might have been. It is thought that Traquair had painted herself as Mary Magdalene in her earlier work
in the Apostolic Church in Edinburgh.(See Allardyce, p. 31.) There on the back of the entrance wall, in the smaller scene of the Pentecost, she is dressed in red as Mary Magdalene, a saint who is sometimes thought to be present at Pentecost with the Apostles:
  Traquair chooses the same saint for her identity in All Saints, minus the firy tongue on her head:

     Ramsay Traquair’s inscription on the Nova Scotia drawing reads, “Original Study for two heads of Saints in Avon Tyrrel Church Hants.” It is likely that Ramsay would refer to the drawing as an “Original Study for” only if it were a sketch intended to map out her intentions beforehand for the three figures. The scale of the heads corresponds to the finished work (large drawing, lifesize painted heads). The changing of the angle of Blake’s eyes from drawing to painting to conform to the wall subject also speaks in favor of a drawing done before the main mural.  
      The problem with this assumption is that so few preparatory drawings for any of her murals exist. We know that Traquair made dozens of preparatory drawings for minor works, from those for embroideries[24] to illuminated pages[25], from enamels[26] to jewelry.[27] Cumming cites example after example of preparations in sketches for these smaller artworks.[28]
      But when it came to working on the wall, Traquair seems to have preferred to sketch her ideas directly onto the wall surface, as shown in the photo of her working in the Catholic Apostolic Church (CAC) in 1897 [29] 
Publicity photograph of PhoebeTraquair sketching designs on north wall of north aisle, 1897, (permission from the Traquair family through the Mansfield Traquair Centre.)

          There are only two other extant figural drawings, besides the Nova Scotia one, which might be said to be preparatory drawings for one of her murals. They are:
1)      a plan mentioned above sketched for the Mortuary Chapel paintings in Edinburgh(ca. 1891-2) before their final arrangement on the walls.[30] Similar but not identical to finished work.


 2)  a pastel portrait on paper in chalk and pencil of Lady Katherine Hill. [31]

 Traquair, chalk sketch on brown paper, Lady Katherine Hill, AGGV, 1904-5.
 Traquair, Child with heart, mural at St. Peter’s Clayworth, Nottinghamshire, 1904-5.
Traquair, section of left wall of nave, St. Peter’s Clayworth, Nottinghamshire, 1904-5.
(Author’s photo, 2010)
Elizabeth Cumming realized this was a preparatory drawing for a girl in Traquair’s mural of the Adoration on the north wall of St. Peter’s nave in Clayworth, England,[32] in a figure holding a heart. The artist has idealized the girl in the finished painting and smoothed out the skin, but it is still a recognizable portrait, produced from the sketched portrait.
    Both the drawing of Katherine Hill and the drawing of our three saints are portraits carried out with enough realistic information that someone can identify the people as though they saw them in a room. In the All Saints example the visual information is virtually identical in the drawing to the figures on the wall.[37]
    The fact that the three heads in the Nova Scotia drawing match (except for Blake’s eyes) the three heads in the painted mural, the fact that the artist’s own son owned the drawing, and the fact that other exact “Studies” for this mural have not been found, make this Nova Scotia drawing the only known surviving preparatory drawing for Traquair’s whole apse mural at All Saints, Thorney Hill, England. It is also only one of three known extant preparatory drawings for any of Phoebe Traquair’s large mural works, and only one of two known where portraits are sketched directly before being painted on the wall. It is, lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the only preparatory drawing of Traquair’s for mural work that has a self-portrait in it.


     The painted image of the apse mural corresponds almost literally to the text of the hymn of Te Deum Laudamus. Traquair thought of the artist as musician and she has set the words of the prayer to music on the wall.  The painting presents the earthly and heavenly worlds together and emphasizes the harmony of that union with the joining of souls in the sacra conversazione with the Holy Family in the center. Human action is implied in the presentation of the dead heir to the holy figures, in the fish that have been caught in the net, in the dragon that is dead, and in the beaker of the scientist and the basket of the mason.  
      Her mural reflects a deeply-felt spiritual sensibility as well. In book illustrations she creates a year after the mural, in 1923, she paints a watercolor miniature depicting Divine Love sustaining the Pilgrim [70] 
 Traquair, ‘Succour’, L’Amour Divin soutient le pèlerin, (Miniature)p. 101, in Grace Warrack, Une guirlande de Poésies Diverses (Oxford:  Basil Blackwell, 1923).
 Her pilgrim is the soul who is given sustenance by God’s Love.  In another illustration for the same book, she entitles her work, “Gift of the Spirit of Power”, “L’âme dans sa faiblesse reçoit le baptême du feu divin” (The soul in its weakness receives the baptism of divine fire) [71] 
 Traquair, ‘Gift of the spirit of Power,’ L’âme dans sa faiblesse reçoit le baptême du feu divin(fresco), p. 108, in Grace Warrack,Une guirlande de Poésies Diverses (Oxford:  Basil Blackwell, 1923).
The last illustration she does in that book is a small initial decorated with the saying, “He poured forth his spirit upon him and man became a dwelling place for the eternal” [72]

Traquair, ‘Reception of the Spirit,’ L’âme par l’effusion de l’Esprit Divin est faite habitation de dieu, (Miniature) p. 131, in Grace Warrack, Une guirlande de Poésies Diverses (Oxford:  Basil Blackwell, 1923).
       The essence of what she believes is put into words in these small instances, but certainly the pictures on All Saints’ wall reflect the same belief:  that human beings are souls on a journey toward God and that God’s eternity is present in all of us, even when we are only images on a wall.  Her earth is imagined as a conversation with the divine figures; heaven is a display of sacred glory. Her ability to transport the viewer from thoughts of death to thoughts of divine Love is her innate gift. She uses her artistic color sense to convey a happy spirit about life and its journey’s end.
       Beauty is nourishment. The beauty of Traquair’s rural scene of springtime and personal gathering, the sparkling colors in harmonic balance, the smiling young faces, all contribute to a nourishing of the audiences who view the mural. The birds and flowers, reminders of Constance’s garden,[73] even without the beautiful idealized portraits of the people, make it attractive and charming.

 Traquair, Ducks, birds, water pool, detail of Te Deum.
The only physical acknowledgement of death on the wall is the dead dragon under the figure of Baron Manners.  The dragon is a comical figure, painted with turquoise scales and pink tongue projecting sideways out of a mouth full of teeth.
Traquair, Dragon killed by St. George (Lord Manners), Te Deum.

All sense of the horror of death is erased here and replaced with mirth. There is no reference to hell in the prayer or in the painting.[74] The afterlife is a pleasant light-filled spring landscape with good company and singing. Eternity resembles life on a good day, a remembered happiest day. 
     The patron, his deceased wife and children, are the motivation for the entire mural. The love of the parents for their children, as witnessed in the rest of the chapel, is expressed by the painter in the apse, too. Constance’s poem, written to God on the death of her son, (See APPENDIX II) is moving in the same way that Traquair’s painting is, because Lady Manners tries in the words to come to terms with the deaths of her two children and to reconcile her belief in God’s goodness with the pain and sorrow from those deaths. That request for reconciliation is given a visual answer in Traquair’s painted figures.  Lord Manners as St. George is a key here, too; he is vanquishing the dragon, vanquishing death itself. The artist pays him the highest compliment by making him the hero of the piece, consistent with his reputation as the hero in the horse-race wager that won him the money to help pay for the construction of the Avon Tyrrell manor house and church.[75] 
       In what is ostensibly a very traditional image, however, Traquair is a rebel-artist. Firstly, her God in heaven seems to be feminine, perhaps is God as a woman.
 With long hair, slender fingers, and softened features S/He is more feminine than many images of God. Then Traquair’s saints are ordinary people who have not been given the title of saint by any traditional religious organization or church:  her saints are of her own making. Even if the Lord Bishop was tolerant of her views, her own saint-making is radical in Anglican and Catholic terms. She makes herself a saint, her favorite authors, Tennyson and Blake saints, and even a 15-year old artist Whistler a saint. If the prominent choir singer in the mural is Mary Christine (Molly), she has also broken down the tradition of male choristers by painting a female one.
       In addition, she places common workmen (the stone mason) on the same level of soul as the great scientist (Lister or Pasteur), barrister (Raymond Asquith), or Baron (Lord Manners) so she undercuts the social conventions of titles and political positions. All saints are equal, all souls the same. Her drama has no consistencies of time, place, or age except eternity. She controls the age of people, mixes times, and places contemporaries with people long dead, all with the understanding that eventually we are all part of the earth-heaven continuum, all part of eternal time, the time-space continuity, even as she is now as we discuss her.
      The representation of herself between Blake and the Bishop of Exeter in both drawing and painting is not coincidental; she sees herself as a rebellious visionary and a traditional religious devotee, so she is sandwiched between an artistic visionary and a conventional bishop. She is being paid by the Lord of Avon Tyrrell, so she sets the scene in the landscape of the local estate and includes the family portraits and friends of the family; but she also uses the occasion to promote her own idea of the Godhead and of the soul. In keeping with the hymn she illustrates, she numbers herself already with the Saints; she, as believer and as painter, is never confounded. Death has no hold on her. Her nourishment goes on, in paint, and also, now, in pencil.
      She saves a drawing of herself between artist and clergyman, the drawing now in Nova Scotia, as a reminder of her role as artist in All Saints; she gives it to her son as a keepsake. Her painting, in the same way, is a keepsake for the Manners family, a way of holding on to their dearest in a space that reminds them that family members can be easily lost. The humans are singing and raising their voices together as they imagine living again with the dead, as they imagine the dead alive again. Eternity as painted by Traquair is an earthly joining of loving and lively souls set in a landscape of color, light, birds, flowers, and water. The therapeutic value of art and music to the grieving human being is witnessed here. The congregants in the church are meant to look at and admire all the saints present in All Saints and believe and heal their wounds of sorrow brought on by sickness or death. That they would sing the Te Deum as they look would be a reverberation and confirmation in music of the painted prayer on the curved wall.
      Phoebe Traquair keeps a souvenir from the wall for herself and passes it on to her son, on to posterity, and unknowingly, on to the internet through Canada. Why should death make one question faith? Art will make eternal life visible, combining poetry, youth, religion, music, and sheer beauty of color. Traquair has drawn and painted it so, and has thereby ensured her own place in the eternal scheme of things.


[1] The mural is signed by the artist four times and dated twice. (see my blog entry on the signatures.) 
[2] Many of the identifications of those portraits have been worked out by Canon Patrick C. Elkins and Mrs. Janet Burn in their very informative book, The Annals of Avon, The Story of the Avon Tyrrell Estate 1891-1947, (Ringwood: Pardy & Sons, Ltd., 2006), a private publication on the occasion of the centenary of the All Saints Church in Thorney Hill. Since Revd. Canon Elkins is the Canon Emeritus of Winchester Cathedral and Hon. Archivist for the Rt. Hon.The Lord Manners, the book contains primary sources and permissions from the Manners’ Family and Estate Archives. He has written up a riveting account of John Manners' death in WWI.  Janet Burn, very knowledgeable lecturer in history of the New Forest and South Hampshire, gathered the history of the Manners family in diary years and did extensive archival research at the Grenadier Guards’ Headquarters for the account of John's death. Mrs. Burn also discovered a receipt for the mural dated 30th September, 1921, written on Avon Tyrrell notepaper from Traquair to Lord Manners, giving the artist’s fee as 400 pounds (not clear if that was the total asked.) I am much indebted to Mrs. Burn and Canon Elkins for their expertise and help.
      The All Saints mural has undergone four restoration programs, one in 1988 by Roger A. Harris after a fire in the church, a second in 1993-7 by Simone Pelizzoli, third in 2006, and the last in 2010 by The Wall Paintings Workshop. The wall has suffered damp from roof and window leaks and consequently one face, the man in between Tennyson and Blake, has been completely replaced with the portrait of Bron Herbert, a local veteran of the Boer Wars. (Burn and Elkins, 101). Pelizzoli and Harris left notes on the same molding where Traquair left hers.
[3] Elizabeth Cumming, Phoebe Traquair 1852-1936, (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1993); catalogue for the exhibition held Aug. 6 – Nov. 7, 1993, National Scottish Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. I would like to thank Elizabeth for her generous and wise scholarship in conversations and emails relating to this article. The other two books she has written on the subject are Phoebe Anna Traquair (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2005) and Hand, Heart, and Soul, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland,  (Edinburgh: Birlinn, Ltd., 2006). She also contributed to the Mansfield Centre’s booklet on the murals in the Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh: Allardyce, Cumming, and Thomson, Guide to the Mansfield Traquair Centre, (Edinburgh:  Friends of the Mansfield Traquair Centre, 2006). Traquair was born in Ireland, trained at the School of Design in Dublin, married a Scotsman in 1973 and moved to Edinburgh the next year.
[4] Lady Mary Manners “always said she was sure there was a full cartoon of the whole mural [at All Saints], but that it was now lost, possibly through the move from Avon Tyrrell to Tyrrells Ford (c. 1947); she did launch a full scale search but nothing was ever found to date.” (emails from Elkins and Burn, 2012.) Lady Mary Manners was the wife of Lord Francis Manners.
[5] I owe my knowledge of the existence of the drawing to Jeffrey and Elizabeth Parker, owners of the Lyghtesome Gallery in Antigonish, Nova Scotia; I extend them my deepest gratitude. The drawing was brought to them for framing and cleaning in 2006; they sent it to Leaf by Leaf in Halifax for paper restoration and then framed it; later in 2008 they wrote an appraisal for David Andrew; the appraisal included documentation of  the inscriptions on the recto and verso; see APPENDIX  I for their appraisal. I add here warm thanks to Lynn Fairfield and Alistair Duckworth for their careful editing of this article.
[6]  The date on the drawing is only the date when she gave the drawing to her son, not the exact date when she made it.
[7]  See Lyghtesome appraisal, 2008, APPENDIX  I. [Tyrrell should be spelled with two l’s.]
[8]  See Lyghtesome appraisal, 2008, APPENDIX I.
[9]  Lyghtesome appraisal, 2008. Thank you to that private owner for permission to publish the drawing. The link for the drawing to Traquair’s own hand has been also confirmed by the living artist sister of Dr. Brunton, Alice Hoskins, 94, who knew her brother’s collection, lived in Guysborough, and was taught drawing by Ramsay Traquair as a young girl. Alice met Ramsay’s sister, Hilda, but never his mother. I thank her for her gracious and helpful correspondence.
[10]  “Traquair” will refer to Phoebe Traquair and not her son from now on.
[11] Lyghtesome appraisal, 2008, “sketch in unfixed charcoal/pastel with dark red and white highlights” for the drawing. Traquair’s wall painting technique is described at length in the Allardyce, Cumming, and Thomson, 2006, 34-35: she began with five layers of lead white, dried each, then applied on the resulting smooth wall, oil color from tubes mixed with turpentine and beeswax; she then added varnish and a wash of turpentine and wax rubbed onto the final layer. Traquair describes the colors of the All Saints painting in a letter to her sister, “The run of colour is goldy browns, rose, cream whites and spots of olive green, and blue.” NLS MS 8123, fol. 48, undated letter, written at Avon Tyrrell. Cumming, 1993, 47.
[12] St. Joseph is the bearded man (in both drawing and painting) whose robe nearly touches the Madonna’s, but there are two other heads in the painting between St. Joseph’s head and the Madonna’s in the mural. 
[13] All the heads in the mural are lifesize. In the earth section there are 23 figures to the left of the Madonna and Child and 20 figures to the right of the Madonna and Child from the viewer’s perspective; spread over the curved apse wall are 47 figures altogether, if we include the Madonna and Child, the 2 putti (child angels)holding the banner of the title, and those figures shown only in halo. See website for measurements of the building.
[14] Thomas Phillips, Portrait of Blake,1807, National Portrait Gallery, London,; NPG 212; Blake appears in Traquair’s earlier Mural for the Song School of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh(1888-1892); he is part of the procession of artists and writers on the north wall (1890). See Margaret G. Campbell, Phoebe Anna Traquair’s “Benedicite Omnia Opera”, Mural Paintings in the Song School, (Edinburgh: St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1998).
[15] Blake’s orant figures in some of his works (such as his manuscript page in the Scottish National Gallery, God Writing upon the Tables of the Covenant (1805)SNG, D2281), inspired Traquair’s own orant angels in this mural, and in the Children’s Mortuary Chapel and Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh.
William Blake, God Writing upon the Tables of the Covenant, 1805, watercolor,
Scottish National Gallery, Edinbugh.
Phoebe Traquair, seraphim in heaven, Te Deum, All Saints, Thorney Hill, England,
Phoebe Traquair, Children’s Mortuary, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 1885­-1901,
Edinburgh. (Author’s photo, 2010).      
Phoebe Traquair, Seraphim, Chancel chapel, Catholic Apostolic Church, (Author’s
photo, 2010).
[16] Cumming, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1852-1936, 2005, 34, 56, and 59; Allardyce,, 2006, 24, and Campbell, 1998, 15.
[17] Burn and Elkins, 99.
[18] Email from Revd. Canon Elkins, 2012; Burn and Elkins, 99 (for them Bishop Cecil is St. Matthew).
[19] An example of Joseph with a staff is Raphael’s Holy Family with Palm Tree, NGL 062.46, in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
Two examples of Joseph with book are:
Annibale Carracci’s The Holy Family with the Infant St. John the Baptist, also called
the Montalto Madonna,1600, NG 6597, National Gallery, London,
and a Scottish example,Fig. 43a,b William Bell Scott, Nativity, 1872, in the Scottish National Gallery
[20] Trevor Beeson, The Bishops (London:  SCM Press, 2003), 13.
[21] Beeson, 12-15; according to his parishioners, he fed crumpets to two rats in his house at tea time and regularly on pastoral visits outside the parish would call up his wife to ask where he was.
[22] The Bishop is also the son of a former Prime Minister, as is Raymond Asquith, the male figure on the right side of the Virgin Mary. The Bishop’s three sons, killed in WWI, are painted in a group in the far left corner of the mural; is his daughter painted next to them? Burn and Elkins, 103.
[23] For the oil self-portrait of Traquair, see Cumming,1993, 46-47, Entry 119,p.85, Cumming, 2005, 87, and for the photo, the Scottish National Portrait Library website entry for Phoebe Anna Traquair. For other self-portraits in her works, see Cumming, 2006, 26-27, Allardyce,et. al., 2006, 30-31. I think she puts self-portraits also in the CAC Virgin cycle (Cumming, Hand, Heart, and Soul, 2006, 153) and in the Kellie Castle mural of 1897(Cumming, 2005, 60).               
[24] Cumming, 1993, 76, Entry 79, 83, Entry 104, 81, Entry 97.
[25] Cumming, 1993, 73, Entry 67 and 84, Entry 113.
[26] Cumming, 1993, 78, Entry 84, 79, Entries 87 and 90, and  85, Entry 117.
[27] Cumming, 1993, 78, Entry 84.
[28] Cumming, 1993, 86-7, Entries 124, 125.
[29] Even for such a vast project as the Catholic Apostolic church there are no extant preparatory drawings. The Guide to the Mansfield Traquair Centre says, Traquair must have done preparatory sketches both for the Catholic Apostolic congregation and to help in the planning of the compositions, but very few of these have survived.”Allardyce, 33. In fact, the only one that is certainly for the Edinburgh church mural project is a foliate decoration design in pencil (with no figures) supposedly at McGill University Library, Montreal, Canada; the librarian is not able to locate it.(Cumming, 1993, 66, Entry 41.)
          Both Elizabeth Cumming and Rosemary Mann of the Mansfield Traquair Trust maintain no extant preparatory drawings for the Apostolic church exist in Edinburgh.  All of the archives of the Scottish church were shipped to London. According to the website for the CAC in London, the archives were then split among the Bodleian Library (1972), the Lambeth Palace Library, and the North Germany branch of the New Apostolic Church; are these likely places for these drawings? That Traquair should have completed the enormous task of painting Old and New Testament stories for the entire nave of the Apostolic Church without preparatory drawings of any kind is remarkable, however. Elizabeth Cumming (1993,83,entries 109,110) discusses two other drawings for the Virgin cycle in CAC that are copies of the wall work, then reused for an enameled casket project. Our drawing is not reused for another work in the same way.
[30] Cumming, 1993, 63, Entry 31.
[31] Cumming, 1993, 77, Entry 81. AGGV stands for Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, located in British Columbia, Canada. For their website, see
[32] My thanks to Chloe Foulerton for her well-prepared guided tour of the church in 2011.
[37] Odd that no other examples of portrait drawings by Traquair for mural works have been found, but equally odd that no complete figural drawings for her murals exist. 
[38] For most of the information about the family I rely on my own 2006 and 2012 visits to the chapel and on the 2006 Burn and Elkins book. I arrived at some of the same portrait identities they did, but on my own, (Blake, Tennyson, Lister, Pasteur, Edward Horner), some are portraits I have discovered myself (Eric Gill, Rex Whistler, and Traquair), but Burn and Elkins are responsible for the identifications of Lord Manners, Lady Constance Manners, John Manners, Francis Manners, the twins, Charles Gore, Laura Lovat, Asquith and Katherine Horner, and Bishop Cecil and his three sons, all of whom appear in the painting.
[39] Burn and Elkins, 66-74.
[40] Burn and Elkins, 74.
[41] Burn and Elkins, 83 and Canon Patrick Elkins’complete account of John’s death in the war, 120-179. See also the website for All Saints,
[42] Edgar Bertram MacKennal,(1863-1931), Australian; in 1914 he is not yet “Sir” as he is knighted in 1921.
[45] Cummings, 1993,30(includes Traquair’s illuminated manuscript portrait of Carmichael),47,and 70 (cat.entry 54). See also Endnote 2 about Traquair’s fee receipt.
[46] Burn and Elkins, 96; the photo showing the school children from 1922 is now lost.
[47] Burn and Elkins, fronstipiece.
[48]As Elizabeth Cumming and Juliet Brown understood when they wrote comments on the mural in 1993 and 2001 respectively, the tapestry part of the wall allies Traquair with her other mentors in the Arts and Crafts movement in England and Scotland, John Ruskin and William Morris. Her animal and foliate decoration used to intimate cloth and nature is similar to works found in that movement.  I myself see elements quoting a chapel in Florence, Italy, but that is for another article.
[49] For a loving description of Lady Constance, see pp.184-186 in Margot Asquith, Margot Asquith, an Autobiography – Two volumes in One (Lexington, Kentucky: Aeterna, 2010).
[50] Burn and Elkins published a photo as that of Constance, only to be told by a researcher at Clovelly after their book went to press that the image was of Evelyn, her sister.
[51] Burn and Elkins, 158; Cumming, 1993, 28, quotes Traquair as saying, “Perfect harmony, is not that what we all strive after?”; and Cumming, 2005, 46.
[52] The red robe with white surplice is worn by choristers in Exeter Cathedral, but according to Elkins, the family chapel had no choir robes. Burn and Elkins base their idea that Molly’s portrait is to the left on family lore. For me the harmonic balance in the composition guides Traquair’s arrangement and makes more sense if Molly is the figure just beside her father; Molly is the reason the chapel is originally built and if she is relegated to the back of the upper left crowd, the family’s unity is disrupted. As the choir girl on the right side, she fits into the scheme of two siblings on each side, one parent on each side, and her youngest brother, Francis, the heir apparent in 1920, in the middle.
[53] A precedent for the inclusion of more than one name saint is found in Giotto’s chapel of Giovanni Peruzzi in Santa Croce in Florence (1322); there the patron Giovanni (John)covers his bases and has Giotto paint the life story of St. John the Baptist on one wall and that of John the Evangelist on the other. See Burn and Elkins,160-61.
[54] I am indebted to Canon Elkins for the initial explanation of the Latin inscription and I am most grateful for learned help from Dr. Sears Jayne, Dr. Alistair Duckworth, and David Handforth. Thanks to all of them.
[55] Canon Elkins’ idea that the mural is hopeful because so much importance is given to the younger generation, in particular to Francis, is evident here in the arrangement that places him in the center of his family.
[56] For biographies of Gill, see Fiona McCarthy’s, Eric Gill (London: Faber and Faber, 1989) and Malcolm Yorke’s, Eric Gill, Man of Flesh and Spirit (New York: Universe Books, 1981).
[57] Fiona MacCarthy, Eric Gill, pp.143-146.
[58] Charles Gore wrote about the Holy Spirit and its power, so he is appropriate for a mural where the Holy Spirit is in the center between heaven and earth. Gore was one of the founders of the Oxford movement and had a special connection to women because in 1917 he licensed the first female lay readers in the Anglican Church. Despite that innovation, he had a deep regard for the traditional sacraments which makes his appearance here as Peter most apt. Why he is depicted in close consultation with Lady Constance is not known to this author; was she a lay reader?
[59]  Burn and Elkins, 76.
[60] An equestrian statue of Edward Horner stands inside St. Andrew’s Church in Mells, England; in Traquair’s painting he is placed close to Molly and his head leans towards her, much as Raymond Asquith’s leans towards Edward’s sister. When Mary Christine died at age 17 in 1904, Edward Horner was 21, close in age to Molly (his sister, Katharine Horner, would have been 19, Asquith would have been 26); since the families were friends, is more intended by the artist in this coupling? He also died in WWI but not until he was 34 in 1917; in the equestrian statue as well as in the mural he is given back his youth. (Fig. 29d)
Sir Alfred Munnings, Equestrian statue of Edward Horner, St. Andrew’s, Mells, 1917. (Author’s photo, 2012.)
[61] Burn and Elkins, 99. For more on the Asquiths and Lovats, see Colin Clifford, The Asquiths, (London:  John Murray, 2002). Lord Ribbesdale was painted by Sargent in 1890; his daughter, Laura, was painted by Sargent when she was 4 in 1896.
[62]Cumming, 2005, 90; 1993, 47, from NLS 8123 fol.48, undated letter, written from Avon Tyrrell to Traquair’s sister Amelia Moss. Interesting to note that two of the “fine things” are locations in the mural where she places her signature, i.e. in the flowers at bottom right and in the cross-badges worn by Pasteur and Lister. See Endnotes 1 and 60.
[63] Janet Burn (2012 email) tells me that Hon. Tom Manners, brother of Lord Manners, remembered Rex Whistler was in the mural. When photos and self-portraits of and by Rex Whistler are compared to figures in the mural, they resemble this central head in yellow. (Elkins’ email, 2011, favors the choir singer for Rex Whistler, but acknowledges that the identity is unsure).
[64] The inscription “IMMORTAL” appears on both cross-orb badges at the top; beneath that word is written “Pasteur” on Pasteur’s badge and “Lister” on the other. Beneath both names Phoebe placed her initial signature – PAT (Phoebe Anna Traquair) similar to the initial signature in the Song School mural but with the position of the P changed.
[65] Bishop Cecil looks at the scientists, Traquair’s way of acknowledging that his book, Science and Religion, defends religion to Darwinists. He clutches either the Bible or his own book to protect it from scientific attack imagined from Lister and Pasteur.
[66]  The estate house of Avon Tyrrell can be seen in the background through the trees above the Madonna and the estate’s windmill is silhouetted to the right of that and even further right the ‘Avon Tyrrell Clump’ of pine trees (now no longer existing on the real land). See Burn and Elkins, 96.
[67] Elkins, 160.
[68] This second meaning for “confounded”, an older meaning in the OED, was pointed out to me by Lynn Fairfield.
[69] Excerpt from a letter from Traquair to her nephew, Willie Moss, Cumming, 1993, 28; Elkins, 158.; Elkins thinks Traquair may have been a person who experienced synaesthesia, the sensation of hearing sounds for colors; if so, she tried to reproduce harmonic effects on the wall from that ability.
[70] (L’Amour divin soutien le pèlerin) on 101 of Grace Warrack, Une guirlande di poésies diverses, From the Song of France;  Poetry Early and Recent, (Oxford:  Blackwell, 1923).
[71] Ibid., 108.
[72] Ibid., 131
[73] Burn and Elkins, 97 and 159.
[74] No Hell or Purgatory appear in her images for the Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh either; only Heaven is portrayed on both Chancel Arch (1893-4) and in the Second Coming on the West Wall (1900-1901).
[75] and John Thomas Manners-Sutton, 3rd Baron Manners (Figs.16a&b), made a bet in 1882 to buy, train, and ride a horse to victory in the Grand National Race in England. He bought a sickly horse, Seaman, for only L.1,900 and trained him in four months. To get experience he rode in various smaller races on other horses. March 24, the day that he rode Seaman in the Grand National was unusual; it snowed heavily and only 12 horses began the race; another horse was favored to win; the favorite horse’s rein strap broke at the second lap.  Seaman became lame by the last 300 yards, but he managed to edge out the only other 2 horses to finish. Seaman never ran another race; he was brought to Avon Tyrrell, and when he died was buried between two trees on the property. Lord Manners’ luck and skill gave him enough money from the bet to build the Avon Tyrrell estate house and the chapel of All Saints in 1906. The land was owned by Constance’s elder sister, Evelyn, who gave it to them as a wedding present. The money meant that he could marry Constance Hamlyn-Fane in 1885, hire William Lethaby to design the large manor house, and eventually have the chapel built by Detmar Blow.



Black and white preliminary sketch in unfixed charcoal/pastel with dark red and white highlights (approx. 444 x 726mm) by Scottish artist Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936).

In the lower right hand corner is a manuscript pencil inscription: Mrs. P.A Traquair  Avon Tyrrel (sic). Hants / to RT. 1923.(Traquair leaves out the second l of Avon Tyrrell-EJD.)

On the verso is another note in manuscript pencil:  Original Study for two heads of Saints  in Avon Tyrrel(sic) Church Hants, by / Mrs P.A Traquair.  Given by her to / me November 3 1923.  Ramsay Traquair / McGill University. (Ramsay Traquair the spelling- EJD.)


Given as a gift by Phoebe Traquair to her eldest son, Ramsay Traquair (born 1874), as transcribed on the back of the drawing.  Ramsay Traquair had moved to Canada in 1913 and while an architecture professor at McGill University, Montreal, had purchased a summer home in Guysborough, Nova Scotia.  The home was subsequently bought by the family of Dr. Lauder Brunton, a medical doctor in Montreal, to whom Ramsay later gave the drawing as a gift.

Dr. Brunton donated the drawing to the Anglican Church in Guysborough and then retrieved it many years later when he discovered the church was no longer used during the winter months and the drawing was not being appropriately cared for.  In 2006 Dr. Brunton had it assessed and cleaned by a conservator and then framed according to conservation standards.  Upon his death it was passed onto David Andrews, a resident of Guysborough, who had worked for Dr. Brunton for many years. Our appraisal for Mr. Andrews was completed in 2008.

                                                APPENDIX II
Constance Manners’ PRAYER written after her son’s death: (1914)
Grant to us, almighty God,
That when our vision fails, and our understanding is darkened,
When the ways of life seem hard, and the brightness of life is gone,
To us grant wisdom that deepens faith when the sight is dim,
And enlarges trust when the understanding is not clear.
     And whensoever Thy ways
In nature or in the soul are hard to be understood,
Then may our quiet confidence, our patient trust,
Our loving faith in Thee be great,
And, as children knowing they are loved,
Cared for, guarded, kept,
May we with a quiet mind at all time
Put our trust in the unseen God.
        So may we face life without fear, and death without fainting;
And, whatsoever may be in the life to come
Give us confident hope that whatsoever is best for us,
Both here and hereafter,
Is Thy good pleasure and will be thy law.


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