Dante Gabriel Rossetti Arthur’s Tomb 1860

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Arthur’s Tomb
Date 1860
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 235 x 368 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the Art Fund 1918
Reference
N03283
Not on display

Display caption

This is a copy of Rossetti's first Arthurian subject, made five years earlier. It illustrates a passage in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, Book XXI. Queen Guinevere, who has become a nun after the revelation of her adultery, is visited by her former lover Sir Lancelot. The passage ends: "'madame I pray you kysse me, and never no more'. 'Nay', sayd the quene, 'that shal I never do, but absteyne you from suche werkes.' And they departed.'"

Rossetti heightens the drama by setting the scene over King Arthur's tomb, underlining his obsession with the subject of illicit love.

January 2002

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