Song School
In the grounds behind the West End’s towering St Mary’s Cathedral is a little hall where the choir practises. It’s not really open to the public except during the August festival, but if you ask nicely at the cathedral and drop a few coins into their donation box, they may let you pop your head inside the Song School, as long as one of the choirs isn’t actually in midrehearsal. If you’ve never seen Phoebe Anna Traquair’s work, prepare yourself for a mural epiphany. If you have – probably at the Mansfield Traquair Centre at the bottom of Broughton Street – then this is a chance to get really close up with Traquair’s brushwork, to be enveloped in her riot of jewel-like colours and vivid characters. The images illustrate the lyrics of the canticle “Benedicite, omnia opera Domine”, aka “A Song of Creation”, the idea being to fill the walls with visible song. Which is exactly the effect – the walls seem to vibrate with joy. The main chorus translates as “O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify him for ever.” Biblical scenes are shown against a Scottish landscape – with Leaderfoot Viaduct in the Borders featuring on the East Wall. In among the procession of heavenly and biblical figures, you may spot, to the right of the door, many faces of the Enlightenment – Tennyson, Browning and Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle and James Watts. And to the right of the organ, Dante, Cardinal Newman and of course William Blake, whose figurative style and love of colour were a clear influence on Traquair. If you look carefully, opposite the entrance, you will find the face of the artist herself. The Song School was built in 1885, six years after St Mary’s opened, and has been continuously in use ever since. By 1993 it had become pretty grey and grubby, so with the help of a Historic Scotland grant, the building and paintings were restored. The result is spectacular. The colours sing louder than any choir could. It’s almost narcotic. And when you leave, you’ll still see the afterburn of the images ringing joyously in your eyes.

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A great church to sit and pray peacefully. Amazing architecture and a attractive tourist place in Scotland.

Nice place. Very welcoming.

Beautyful

Genuinely welcoming

Nice church. Wander in for a relaxing peaceful sit down. Nice place.

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