John Hamilton Mortimer Sir Arthegal, the Knight of Justice, with Talus, the Iron Man (from Spenser’s ‘Faerie Queene’) exhibited 1778

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Sir Arthegal, the Knight of Justice, with Talus, the Iron Man (from Spenser’s ‘Faerie Queene’)
Date Exhibited 1778
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2426 x 1460 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1976
Reference
T02057
Not on display

Display caption

This painting refers to the courtly fantasy of British origins prevalent in the Elizabethan age and the seventeenth century. It illustrates Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene 1590/6, a poem that claims Elizabeth I as heir to King Arthur’s British kingdom.

Arthegal was one of the Queene’s knights, trained by the immortal Astraea to be the champion of True Justice. She gave him the invincible sword, Chrysaor, which he holds here. Behind him is Talus, his squire. Talus was a man ‘made of iron mould, immoveable, resistlesse’. He carries an iron flail with which he threshes out falsehood.

September 2004

About this artwork