Dante Gabriel Rossetti

How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival Were Fed with the Sanct Grael; but Sir Percival’s Sister Died by the Way

1864

Medium
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 292 x 419 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Beresford Rimington Heaton 1940
Reference
N05234

Display caption

Rossetti once described Malory's Morte d'Arthur as one of the greatest books in the world and drew inspiration from it for a number of his designs. Here he unites two scenes from the text. One relates to Percival, who achieves the Grail quest with his fellow knights, Galahad and Bors. The other relates to his sister who gives her life to heal a woman who could only be saved by the blood of a virgin. Rossetti shows the knights receiving the Grail before an altar. Beside them Percival's sister lies on the ground awaiting burial. The lily symbolises her purity.

Gallery label, January 2002

Technique and condition

Watercolour and gouache painting with gum on wove watercolour paper. The image shows Sir Galahad and friends accepting the Holy Grail from a haloed female figure. In general the support is in moderate condition overall, but is discoloured and brittle around the edges. The media is in good condition, with no obvious fading of the colours. There is a gum glaze over areas of the paint that does have a crackle pattern but appear stable.

Katharine Lockett
April 2003