David Jones Illustration to the Arthurian Legend: The Four Queens Find Launcelot Sleeping 1941

Artwork details

Artist
David Jones 1895–1974
Title
Illustration to the Arthurian Legend: The Four Queens Find Launcelot Sleeping
Date 1941
Medium Graphite, ink, crayon, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 629 x 495 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1941
Reference
N05316
Not on display

Display caption

The stories of King Arthur and his knights had long been of interest to artists and writers as a remnant of a mysterious, lost national past. This drawing illustrates a passage in which Sir Launcelot is abducted by four queens. Launcelot, however, lies dreaming of his love, Queen Guinevere, who appears as a swan. The recumbent figure wears a German helmet and is deliberately reminiscent of the bodies of soldiers that Jones had seen on the battlefields of the 1914–18 war. Thus Medieval themes and styles are used to comment on more recent conflict.

September 2004

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