Portrait miniature of Hilda Traquair as an adolescent

Phoebe Anna Traquair


This is a study of the Traquairs’ only daughter. Phoebe Anna Traquair made a number of pencil sketches of her children during the 1880s and 1890s with a number used for figure studies in her mural schemes. In 1898 Hilda would be represented – along with her father Ramsay – in her mother’s second children’s hospital chapel at Rillbank, south Edinburgh.

  • Artist

    Phoebe Anna Traquair

  • Date

    c. 1893

  • Medium

    Watercolour on paper

  • Object number



Phoebe Anna Traquair HRSA, 1852 - 1936

From the 1880s to the 1920s Phoebe Anna Traquair was known as one of Scotland’s leading muralists and craft artists. The daughter of a Dublin doctor, she had been born and educated in Ireland and settled in Edinburgh with her zoologist husband Dr Ramsay Heatley Traquair (1840-1912). Traquair’s admired Greek sculpture and the romance of Pre-Raphaelite painting, medieval craft as well as modern engineering.  Her mentors above all were the great poets and writers of the past and present including Dante, Blake and Rossetti. She struck up friendships with artists including William Holman Hunt and briefly corresponded with John Ruskin in the late 1880s. Ruskin lent her medieval manuscripts to study and copy, and these, together with her reading, inspired a series of glorious illuminations of poetry. Above all she always enjoyed the challenges of mastering traditional crafts from embroidery to leather bookcover tooling and, after 1900, art enamelling on copper and silver. She had a professional studio space within the Dean Studio in Lynedoch Place, Edinburgh, from 1890.