In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS135 Westminster Manuscript the leitet O is in blue, the ornamental pen-work flourishes in red, the text written in brown ink. It would be advisable for Garland to drop the —, appropriate in typewritten text, but not for printed typescript in published books, which instead use en and em dashes. Garland could also investigate a better font than the one awarded Brant Pelphrey's fine use of Greek. JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY Hermit of the Holy Family, Fiesole, Italy Christine poulson, The Questfor the Grail: Arthurian Legend in British Art 1840— 1920. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press and St. Martin's Press, 1999. Pp. xix, 268. isbn: 0-7190-5379-?. $79.95 (cloth), isbn: 0-7190-5537-7. $29.95 (paper). The Industrial Revolution in Britain created a demand for a new definition of 'gentleman,' one that went beyond landowners, Anglican clergy, military officers and men of law to include an increasingly large and wealthy middle class. A suitable model, combining ideals ofservice, courtesy, fellowship, piety, fidelity and devotion to a monarch, was found in medieval knighthood, especially as depicted in Malory's Morte Darthur. In The Questfor the Grail, Christine Poulson chooses a particular chivalric adventure as a basis for surveying eighty years of art. The exemplary role ofArthurian chivalry was confirmed early in Queen Victoria's reign when William Dyce was commissioned to decorate the Queen's Robing Room in the new Palace of Westminister with frescoes based on Malory, despite the fact that the adulterous courtly love and Catholic religion were subjects 'scarcely appropriate for such an apartment,' as Dyce reminded Prince Albert. Poulson discusses Dyce's strategies in adapting the material for a respectable Protestant society. Malory was also the source for another programmatic series, the Oxford Union murals, begun in 1857. The artists, who came to be known as Pre-Raphaelites and among whom were D.G. Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, being Anglo-Catholic in sympathy, were so attracted to the Grail legend that they continued to represent it in painting, stained glass and tapestries for the next forty years. An alternate source for Arthurian art was Tennyson's poetry—the early works such as 'The Lady ofShalott,' 'Sir Galahad' and 'Morte d'Arthur' (1842) and the extensive IdylL· ofthe King. Tennyson 'sieved out the undesirable elements and reworked what remained' so that 'the legends could be a useful source of didactic and sentimental subjects.' A significant development ofthe Grail legend's hero by way ofOF. Watts's painting 'Sir Galahad' (1862)—attached to the Quest by its title alone—was the knight's transformation from a lonely contemplative to a memorial figure commemorating young men who had died in war or in peacetime acts ofcourage. To Poulson's substantial list of memorials could be added the window in Moberley's parish church honouring George Mallory, who died in 1924 while trying to conquer Mt. Everest and whose body was recently discovered on the frozen slopes. 136ARTHURIANA The addition of angels in Grail art Poulson attributes to afin de siècle interest in the occult as expressed in Freemasonry, Theosophy and Spiritualism. But as the motif appeared much earlier in Rossetti's and Burne-Jones's art, its source is more likely the medieval iconology retrieved to decorate the numerous Gothic Revival Churches. The second part ofthis study shows the difficulty ofencompassing British Arthurian art under the Grail Quest umbrella when Arthur, Tristan, Merlin, the Fays and the courtly ladies (except Perceval's sister) were not participants. Burne-Jones's personal myth was the non-Christian story of Merlin's enchantment while Morris's was the romance ofTristram and Isoud. The most popular subjects, however, from 1850 to 1914 were Tennyson's women, here discussed in the context of current feminist criticism. WH. Hunt and J.W Waterhouse, we are told, presented the Lady ofShalott as a fallen woman who, because she has stepped out from her appointed sphere and surrendered to sexual temptation, is exposed to judgement and punishment. When King Arthur is the subject, it is his death that interests painters, allowing them to commemorate Prince Albert and to create autumnal sunsets or winter nights, not, I think, influenced...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 135-137
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.