Sir Galahad – The Quest of the Holy Grail

Arthur Hughes, 1870 first exhibited

WAG 2936

About this object

The Holy Grail was the vessel used by Jesus Christ to give wine to his disciples at the Last Supper. Regarded by Christians as one of the most sacred relics, the search for The Holy Grail has inspired a canon of literature and poetry, known as ‘Arthurian Legend’.

Hughes was fascinated by Arthurian legends. Sir Galahad was a knight of King Arthur's Round Table and one of the three ‘achievers’ of the Holy Grail – virtuous knights pre-destined to see the Grail. Inspired by the last verse of Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘Sir Galahad’ (1842), the knight is shown riding through a mountainous terrain surrounded by angels who encourage him in his quest.


The clouds are broken in the sky,
And thro’ the mountain-walls
A rolling organ-harmony
Swells up, and shakes and falls.
Then move the trees, the copses nod,
Wings flutter, voices hover clear:
‘O just and faithful knight of God!
Ride on! the prize is near.’
So pass I hostel, hall, and grange;
By bridge and ford, by park and pale,
All-arm’d I ride, whate’er betide,
Until I find the holy Grail.

'Sir Galahad – The Quest of the Holy Grail', was formerly in the collection of the Birkenhead banker and art collector George Rae (1817 - 1902).

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Arthur Hughes (British: English, born:1832-01-27, died:1915-12-22)
  • Date
    1870 first exhibited
  • Materials
    Canvas on panel; Oil paint
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 113 cm x 167.6 cm; frame: 142.2 cm x 198.1 cm
  • Physical description
    A knight on a white horse rides up a steep pathway in a mountainous landscape. Three angels hover infront of him on the right.
  • Related people
    Arthur Hughes (Artist/maker); George Rae (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 2936
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by Mrs Alexander M Synge in 1925
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Temporary Exhibition Area, Rooms A B or C
  • Collection
    From the World Museum collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • George Rae

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: ARTHUR HUGHES (bottom left)
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
Object view = Fine Art
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