Episode 1 of 3
These three stories by Morven Crumlish, commissioned specially for Radio 4, are inspired by the work of the artist Phoebe Anna Traquair.
Traquair (1852-1936) was born in County Dublin and, in the 1870s, moved to Edinburgh where she would later become a prominent figure in the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement.
Probably her best-known works are the vibrantly-coloured murals in what was formerly the Catholic Apostolic Church in Broughton Street, Edinburgh which Traquair took eight years to complete (1893-1901). When the church fell out of ecclesiastical use, the murals suffered badly through neglect but, following the formation of the Mansfield Traquair Trust, a major restoration was undertaken, completed in 2005.
While art is at the core of all three fictions, Murals also mirrors the evolution of a similar building: from church, to brickyard, to present-day use for visitors and as a venue for events.
"With such an enormous task sometimes artistry had to be abandoned in favour of completion." At the top of her ladder, painting her mural, an artist is adding detail to the robes of a priest: "a pomegranate and a bell. And a pomegranate and a bell ..."
Morven Crumlish's stories have been broadcast widely, and she also contributes to the Guardian. Her work has featured in four previous Sweet Talk productions for BBC Radio 4, including Dilemmas of Modern Martyrs - five of her stories - in 2008; and most recently 'Harold Lloyd Is Not The Man Of My Dreams' (Three For My Baby, 2011).
Morven lives in Edinburgh.
Reader: Gillian Kearney
Producer: Jeremy Osborne
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.