Digital Commonwealth

V. King Amfortas and the castle of the Grail lie under a spell

V. King Amfortas and the castle of the Grail lie under a spell

Item Information

Title:
V. King Amfortas and the castle of the Grail lie under a spell
Description:
King Amfortas, the Fisher King, lies under a spell along with the other inmates of the Castle of the Grail. The spell has rendered them "spiritually dead;" although the Grail passes by them, they cannot see it. According to legend, only a blameless knight can free them from the spell. Sir Galahad is such a knight, but fails to ask the Question on which everything depends. -- Adapted from: An outline of this version of the legend by Henry James.
Artist:
Abbey, Edwin Austin 1852-1911
Photographer:
Lanzel, Sheryl
Sponsor:
Boston Public Library
Date:
[ca. 1893–1895]
Format:
Paintings
Genre:
Murals
Location:
Boston Public Library
Abbey Room
Collection (local):
Mural Cycles at the Central Library in Copley Square
Series:
Abbey Room Murals: The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail by Edwin Austin Abbey
Subjects:
Galahad (Legendary character)
Arthurian romances
Extent:
1 painting : mural, oil on canvas ; visible image 388 x 96 in.
Permalink:
Terms of Use:
Copyright (c) Sheryl Lanzel
All rights reserved.
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:
Title from information in: James, Henry. "An outline of this version of the legend."
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.
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.
Accession #:
05-V