About this artwork

This richly coloured and detailed embroidery is the second in a series of four called The Progress of a Soul. Each panel features the same young male character dressed in an animal skin, who represents the human soul. This figure was based on the character of Denys L'Auxerrois from Imaginary Portraits by the English critic and writer Walter Pater. In this panel, The Stress, made between 1895-97, Denys has grown older and wiser to the challenges of life. Nature is now described as ‘red in tooth and claw’ and a reptile is intertwined around his legs, impeding his progress.

Audio commentary

This commentary is part of the National audio tour. Listen to the whole tour in Smartify.

Updated before 2020

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Phoebe Anna Traquair

Phoebe Anna Traquair