Boston Public LibraryPaintings and Fine Arts Collection at the Boston Public Library / Mural Cycles at the Central Library in Copley Square
III. The Arthurian Round Table and the fable of the Seat Perilous
- III. The Arthurian Round Table and the fable of the Seat Perilous
Led by Joseph of Arimathea, Sir Galahad approaches King Arthur's Round Table and the Seat Perilous. No man had yet sat with safety in the Seat, as only a blameless occupant can do so without being killed instantly. The knights of the Round Table watch in horror as Sir Galahad assumes the Seat, but the young and pure knight survives. Thereafter, the structure is known as "The Seat of Galahad." -- Adapted from: An outline of this version of the legend by Henry James.
- Abbey, Edwin Austin 1852-1911
- Boston Public Library
- Lanzel, Sheryl
Boston Public Library
- Collection (local):
Mural Cycles at the Central Library in Copley Square
- Abbey Room Murals: The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail by Edwin Austin Abbey
King Arthur's Round Table
Joseph, of Arimathea, Saint
Galahad (Arthurian legendary character)
- 1 painting : mural, oil on canvas ; visible image 289 x 96 in.
Copyright (c) Sheryl Lanzel
All rights reserved.
Title from information in: James, Henry. "An outline of this version of the legend."
- Notes (date):
Contract signed in 1893; murals painted in Abbey's studio in England (space shared with John Singer Sargent). The BPL Historic Structure Report marks the installation as complete in January, 1902, with an initial installation of 5 panels (Panels I-V, as supported by photographs of the installation) that occurred in 1895.
- Notes (object):
Canvases completed in Abbey's studio at Morgan Hall in England and later shipped over to Boston for installation in 1901. Canvas applied to the walls of the Book Delivery Room using an adhesive technique called marouflage. Some panels contain gilded elements of raised relief and metal studs to reinforce seams.
- Notes (historical):
Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) was a young, highly regarded illustrator for Harper's Monthly magazine, but had never completed any work in oil paint when he was approached for the mural commission. The Philadelphia-born artist lived most of his life in England, where he befriended artist John Singer Sargent. In 1890, Abbey and Sargent dined with Charles Follen McKim, Stanford White, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens in New York, where architect McKim convinced him to consider painting a mural cycle in the Boston Public Library's Book Delivery Room. Upon visiting the library during its construction with McKim, Abbey agreed to undertake the project and signed a contract to complete the work for $15,000 in 1893. He selected a subject of "legendary romance" in The Quest for the Holy Grail, basing his work upon Alfred, Lord Tennyson's version of the Arthurian tale.
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