Boston Public LibraryPaintings and Fine Arts Collection at the Boston Public Library / Mural Cycles at the Central Library in Copley Square
XV. The golden tree
- XV. The golden tree
Sir Galahad, now the King of Sarras, builds a golden tree. When he is presented with the Grail, his spirit and the Grail ascend to heaven. Like other elements throughout the mural cycle, the golden tree and the Grail are depicted in gilded raised relief, a method that Abbey may have learned from his studio partner John Singer Sargent. -- Adapted from: An outline of this version of the legend by Henry James.
- Abbey, Edwin Austin 1852-1911
- Lanzel, Sheryl
- Boston Public Library
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
Galahad (Legendary character)
- 1 painting : mural, oil on canvas ; visible image 138 x 96 in.
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.
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.
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