About this artwork

This richly coloured and detailed embroidery is the third in a series of four called 'The Progress of a Soul'. The figure in each panel was based on the character of Denys L'Auxerrois from 'Imaginary Portraits' by the English critic and writer Walter Pater. In this panel, ‘Despair’, made between 1897-9, an exhausted Denys, on the brink of death, hangs from the vine branches. The briar thorns close to his feet allude to Christ’s Crucifixion, introducing Christian symbolism into an otherwise pagan scene.

Phoebe Anna Traquair

Phoebe Anna Traquair