Exquisite Phoebe Anna Traquair manuscript online

Sonnet 31
Detail from sonnet 31
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A key Arts and Crafts manuscript has just been made available on the web for the first time by the National Library of Scotland.

Phoebe Anna Traquair's illuminated manuscript of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' is one of the Library's treasures. Made in Edinburgh between 1892 and 1897, it displays bold and bright watercolours, gold leaf and intricate decorative motifs. It is an exquisite work, and until this week it could only be studied by visiting NLS in person.

Our online Phoebe Anna Traquair feature was launched this week. Using zoom-and-pan images, you can now examine in close detail each of the 44 sonnet pages, plus the title page and end page. Background information about the manuscript and the artist has been provided by freelance art historian Elizabeth Cumming.

'Sonnets from the Portuguese' includes what is probably Barrett Browning's best-known poem, sonnet 43: 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways'.

See our digitised manuscript at http://digital.nls.uk/traquair

10 May 2006

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