“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,

Wing flutter, voices hover clear:

‘O just and faithful knight of God!

Ride on! The prize is near.’”[1]

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Sir Galahad was published in 1842, a short fifty-three years before Edwin Austin Abbey accepted the commission for his resplendent Galahad mural cycle in the Boston Public Library (BPL). There is good evidence to suggest Abbey took inspiration from Tennyson’s grail poem, as well as the later Idylls of the King.[2] Abbey even altered his original artistic plans to center on the grail. Margaret O’Shaughnessey notes “Why Abbey . . . subsequently changed the subject to the Grail legend is not clear, although it may well have been in response to the completion in 1889 of Tennyson’s Idylls.”[3] Indeed, the poetry and the art have a similar timbre — foreboding yet uplifting, hidden yet in view, fast-paced yet makes the reader slow down, and both are worthy of examination.

To view these murals, an adventurer would have to visit one of America’s most historic cities, thread their way to the heart of Copley Square, and find the BPL which stands as “a major landmark in American architecture, ‘this monument to the aspirations of the American Renaissance’ . . . ‘a palace for the people.’”[4] Upon entering, the visitor would next climb a flight of stairs and enter a dark wood-paneled room. Our eyes, as our feet have done, ascend upward and are lifted to fifteen canvas panels. The story of Galahad is there to be viewed, “read” if you will, both by the painted artistic accomplishment and by recalling to memory the numerous cycles of Arthurian tradition. It is the grail story with Lancelot’s son, Galahad, who was foretold, begotten through trickery, but perfect in his knighthood. One Arthurian scholar has called Galahad possibly even “boring.”[5] However, one only needs to sit underneath the darkened panels, illuminated by warm light, and Abbey’s chosen color palette predominated by glittering whites, gold, and deep reds to be compelled to enter, sit, and contemplate. This article will attempt to remember something worth remembering, by recalling not only these beautiful murals, but what they represent in literature, ethos, and symbology. We should remember Edwin Austin Abbey’s Sir Galahad murals at the BPL for three inspiring reasons. First, they call the viewer to contemplate the good as the murals work in concert with their chosen medium, literary history, and poetic traditions. Second, the murals are beautiful in subject and style, and may even operate upon the viewer as a teleological sign towards God. Lastly, the murals provide beautiful examples of iconography, which is in and of itself a rich study as our examples will illustrate.

First, these paintings may invoke the contemplation of the good and develop a multifaceted intra-arts communication. To understand how and why, let’s first put them in context.

Broadly speaking, the style is likely Pre-Raphaelite. One only needs to take a short survey of the style, dress, facial expressions, color palette, emotive characteristics, and subject compared to other Pre-Raphaelites to consider this as an appropriate potential classification. Moreover, Abbey was known to have been influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement and their artists. This is especially demonstrated as Abbey was an American-born artist, known for his extensive travel abroad and influenced by his time in London and travels in Italy.[6] [7] [8] Also, Abbey’s work was “admired for his understanding of old-time scenes, for the dramatic action of his compositions, for their exactness of costumes and accessories, wealth of detail and rich coloring.”[9] Finally, the mural cycle in question exemplifies his notable costume designs, ability to represent folds of fabrics with nothing but pigment and canvas, rich coloring, and overwhelming attention to detail.[10]

Nonetheless, one author notes this commission for Abbey is somewhat surprising given both Abbey’s previous experience (or lack thereof) and other more recognizable artists involved in BPL’s artistic completion.[11] Whatever historical misgivings and even possible nepotistic criticisms may be leveled against Abbey’s commission (Abbey was engaged to one of the architect’s niece’s), Abbey’s accomplishment is truly that, an enchanting artistic accomplishment.[12] Moreover, his works show the power and practice of an artist’s imaginative storytelling, which can elevate the viewer’s heart and mind with transcendent beauty. Nothing less could be said for these murals.

As previously noted, the entire cycle consists of fifteen panels, “These pictures are eight feet in height, and of varying lengths, totaling 194 feet; they contain about one hundred and fifty life-size figures.”[13] The varying lengths are worth pausing to consider because they “allow(ed) him to alter his emphasis and to alternate grand scenes of epic scale with others that were close at hand and intimate.”[14] While some of the panels contain throngs of those hundred and fifty life-size figures, others contain just three or four. These shorter panels are a closer examination of but a few characters, their pathos, and the central narrative point in which they’re intersecting in the Arthurian legends. It’s a calculated and effective artistic choice as the variance causes our eyes to stop and ponder: why so many or so few? For instance, the third panel details the Siege Perilous as Galahad is ushered into the presence of the Arthurian court and his foretold seat at the round table is a wonderful example. The sheer number of figures in this panel heavily weighs the experiential moment for Galahad, and thus the viewer, giving it visual and emotional emphasis. By contrast, panel 10 consists of only four figures with one focalized poignant, gentle, sorrowful, and stoic woman. This panel describes the wedding, and subsequent separation of Galahad and Blanchefleur. This panel’s limited figures give space for the narrative pathos. Consequently, the disunity in length allows the viewer an entry point in the pictorial conversation, and thus the referred narrative.

Additionally, when considering specific objects, one should consider the medium and technique to ground our understanding. The paintings are oil on canvas, and “affixed to the walls of the library by the process of marouflage.”[15] Moreover, and significantly, Abbey had “never before painted a mural, but he had in fact done only two oil paintings.”[16] Thus, not only was the medium and technique new to this artist, so was the scale. While oil was undoubtedly a common medium of the day, one may ponder the reflectivity of the medium chosen. Oil on canvas is both forgiving, and given the chosen color palette, could reflect the available light well. It also allowed Abbey to work in a workshop, as opposed to on location.[17]

As far as the light goes, it may be no surprise, but interesting to note that Abbey pondered the effect of light and its effect on the experience. O’Shaughnessey quotes Abbey saying “If some of the work is more or less in the dark, that doesn’t hurt it. It is intended to be in the dark. Let us have a little mystery about it.”[18] Moreover, the lighting scheme helps communicate the ethos of the paintings. The narrative is about searching, travailing, failing, and finally apotheosis. A maxed-out lighting scheme would be contradictory in storytelling and indeed Abbey fought this during installation.[19] But this lighting scheme works on our eyes as our hearts work on the story. Just as Galahad searches and sometimes comes up empty handed or at cross purposes, so too will the viewer see and not see. Additionally, what all the above points to is composition, skill, and craft which engages with and uplifts the spirit of the viewer. Indeed, it is a unique experience of beauty urging the viewer towards the good.

Now that we have a grounding in the mural’s style, size, medium, and in situ experience, let’s turn our attention to their subject matter and the artistic dialogue. Abbey’s pictorial narrative draws on centuries of beloved lore, and to best comprehend the murals we must remind ourselves about the traditions from which they were pulled. If one is not familiar with Arthur, his knights, the Siege Perilous, Lancelot, Guinevere, the independent and Arthurian symbology/importance of the grail, and the entire chivalric tradition — these paintings while beautiful — will not take on soaring wings. Similarly in literature, Phillip Elliott says in his review of Tennyson’s Sir Galahad the following: “Some readers obviously require belief in or sympathy with a subject or method of treatment before they can read with appreciation.”[20] How close we are in this age to the sentiments of ages before us, but these works invite us into the discovery of Arthurian ages.

As previously mentioned, Abbey was influenced by Tennyson’s work with its strong focus on grail lore. First, and foremost, the search for the grail is the search for something holy that was once filled with Holiness and requires holiness to be found. Tennyson describes the grail for us as “The cup, the cup itself, from which Our Lord / Drank at the last sad supper with his own.”[21] We may also see other narrative influences that provide a strong link between Galahad, the grail, and the intra-arts communication of poetry, prose and the murals. For instance, there is a unique but identifiable factor with the Arimathean element of grail lore. Arthur Waite says, “We have seen that the Secret of the Grail, signifying the super-substantial nourishment of man and (or) the Guiding Voice of a certain Holy Assembly, was communicated by Christ to His chosen disciple Joseph of Arimathæ . . . .”[22] Joseph of Arimathea is deeply represented throughout the paintings. For example, in the third panel Galahad is being “led by the mysterious figure . . . the first possessor of the Grail after its consecration by the blood of the Saviour, Joseph of Arimathea. It is the spirit of Joseph, robed entirely in white, his head concealed.”[23] Galahad is gaining introduction to the noblest of courts from the noblest of souls. Surely his quest cannot fail with such an introduction. Moreover, not only does Joseph of Arimathea make an appearance, but he is also consistently referred to in the strategic placement of Galahad’s shield. Sir Thomas Malory tells of this shield in his Le Morte D’Arthur. Joseph of Arimthæa’s son, also Joseph and keeper of the grail after his father, made this shield for King Evelake and foretold that it would be Galahad’s shield.[24] In even more symbology and parallelism with the grail, the red cross on the shield was made with Joseph’s blood, and as such the red would never fade.[25] [26] We see this red-crossed white shield in several of the panels, but only once is it actively used as a weapon. In others, it lies like a tombstone, reminding the reader what precious blood has been spilled, used, never fades, and stands as an allusion to the greater sacrifice caught by the grail itself. Moreover, and importantly, in all the panels that include the shield, the top of the cross is always pointing towards Galahad, and the bottom of the cross, where the edge of the cross was originally plunged into Golgotha, is always away from him. Thus, pictorially he is never at war with the cross, it is not pointed towards him; rather he has taken his cross up and followed his divine calling.

The shield continues throughout the mural cycle as an important element wielded by our hero. For instance, in the 9th panel the shield rests on the left foreground of the canvas as Galahad enters the castle of the maidens. Our hero has literally put down his arms for this segment of his journey. In the 10th, one of Galahad’s fellow knights holds the shield, symbolically referring to Galahad’s unyielding fervor, yet inner conflict to persevere rather than stay with his beautiful, forlorn, and never consummated wife. Strikingly the shield is the central focal point in panel 14. This panel sets up the final portion of the story, and in a way is a returning home. According to Dorsey, the mystical island, Sarras, where the Holy Grail is brought in Arthurian legend “. . . is somewhere near Jerusalem, we’re told. Sarras, importantly, is supposedly the place from which Saracens come. And Saracen is the word that medieval Christians most frequently used to designate people of the Muslim faith.”[27] We can recall, the shield was originally made for “King Evelake of Sarras, a Pagan converted by Joseph, the son of Joseph of Arimathea.”[28] Which means the original shield holder is from somewhere in the Middle East, near Jerusalem and the shield is now on a boat returning home. Thus, the imagery, story, and symbolism of conversion, salvation, and even sanctification and glorification are rich here. One may possibly say this panel begins the segment of apotheosis as the shield, the bearer, and the quest are returning home in two ways. First the symbolically referential grail shield is returning to its terra firma home and eventually with this return, Galahad will embark on his final segment to his celestial home.

Moreover, while Thomas Morley and others were certainly source material, it is the references to Tennyson’s work that crops up in the literature surrounding these paintings. Like a stone path one leading to the other, Tennyson’s work is contemporary to Abbey, Abbey’s paintings meet the public, and then a publication by the BPL only 34 years after the cycle is completed references both the painter and the writer. Tennyson was a timely contemporary breathing new creative life into the Arthurian lore, and there is a recognizable timbre between them.

There are a few instances when we can see Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Sir Galahad particularly align with the paintings. As an example Tennyson writes the goodly knight proclaims, “I never felt the kiss of love, / Nor maiden’s hand in mine.”[29] And this line is enchantingly depicted in the 10th panel. Here Galahad leaves his bride before the marriage is consummated to remain the virgin knight worthy of the grail. Front and center in this panel is Galahad’s un-held hand. Instead of the warmth of his bride, his hand pushes against cold marble and his gaze is upturned away from Blanchefleur. Likewise, Blanchefleur’s hands are clasped with light pink roses as she stares out entreatingly towards the viewer. There are several other places one can see a nod to Tennyson, and one more example will further illustrate the idea. This from Tennyson’s Idylls, he writes of a nun, “‘A woman,’ answered Percivale, ‘a nun, / And one no further off in blood from me / Than sister.”[30] Later this figure “. . . saw the bright boy-knight, and bound it on him, / Saying, ‘My knight, my love, my knight of heaven, / O though, my love, whose love is one with mine, / I, Maiden, round thee, maiden, bind my belt. / Go Forth, for thou shalt see what I have seen, / And break through all, till one will crown thee king.”[31] So this nun is none other than Percival’s sister. This fair sister sees the grail in a vision after fasting and prayer.[32] The very first panel in the cycle is a beautiful nun, holding up baby Galahad to the angel who will accompany Galahad on the rest of his quest. Moreover, and perhaps most strikingly, round this baby is a belt with a striking cream color against the pure white vibrancy of Galahad’s gown, and a belt that matches the nun’s cream color habit. The nun does not look at Galahad or the angel. Other writers have said she is unaware, but I would pose a different thesis.[33] Abbey has the nun breaking the fourth wall and looking at the viewer. She is fully aware of the heavenly atmosphere around her, perhaps even more so than we. She is Percival’s sister, full knowing, full of vision, and full of introduction to us the viewer of Galahad and the quest. This is her right, by birth, by prophetic vision, by poetry and by the Idylls of The King.

Thus, we can see that these paintings are pictorial narratives that refer the viewer to the long-standing tradition in creative poetry and prose. The viewer repeats these narrative traditions either to themselves or to others and back to the painting during their viewership. It is a conversation of one object referring to centuries of creative and inventive storytelling in one form that experientially pulls us in all the while standing still in the old delivery room of the BPL. This is the intra-arts communication that beautiful art can bare, and like the delivery room of old in which these paintings hang, we too can be delivered to something transcendentally good. In doing so, these paintings introduce a multidirectional dialogue between technique, narrative, and the viewer’s soul through acts of artistic tradition and creation.

The second reason we should remember these paintings is because they are beautiful in style, medium, literary reference, and the above encapsulated experience. Yet, “What do we mean when we say that something is ‘beautiful’? This word is used in so many contexts today that for many people it has no clear meaning . . . .”[34] The word “beauty” is so connotatively familiar it has almost become a convenient syllogism for “I like x.” Yet, beyond just something temporal or subjective, it is possible for an experience such as beauty to act upon the viewer in either blessing or curse. Dr. C. Stephen Evans is greatly helpful here, and his work on natural signs will aid in forming a framework for the discussion of how beauty may act as a natural (or teleological) sign pointing one towards the reality of God. Beauty then has a substantial purpose in our lives and should be regarded with reflective intentionality. Our murals serve as a poignant tangible example.

Evans says the following: “In order for something like a sensation to function as a natural sign, it must be causally linked both to the objects being perceived by way of the signs, and to the dispositions we have to form conceptions and beliefs about these objects as a result of the perceptions.”[35] How then could this work with something like beauty? Art may impact the viewer through sight, and act as a sign through its subject, medium, and technique, resulting in either exaltation or denigration in the viewer. Let us refer to our murals. Art, in this case a grand mural cycle, creates a sensation in the viewer via the combination of light, sight, comprehension, the medium, the technique, the surrounding narratives and the viewer’s disposition to form a conception and belief about the object. If so disposed, the viewer may stand below the fifteen panels, and reflect on the paintings and their meaning. The imaginings created by viewing may exceed the momentary temporal experience, inviting stimulating questions concerning how something created over a hundred years ago, referencing centuries and innumerable cycles of beloved lore can still act upon the viewer. They may also elicit questions about the narrative itself. In other words, perhaps the beauty and intra-arts communication of these murals will cause someone to search, just as Galahad is searching.

Moreover, Evans notes “Natural signs for God, or what we might call theistic natural signs, must function in a similar way. They must be casually linked ‘upstream’ to God, and they must be casually linked ‘downstream’ to dispositions to form a conception of God and a belief in God’s reality.”[36] Aesthetic beauty can be linked upstream to God due to, but not limited to, subject, credibility, or proficiency. In this way, the murals have a multitude of avenues open to them. The paintings themselves exalt a thematic scheme of the divine, and they are also technically done with skill and ingenuity. Important to note — just because the subject is sacred, doesn’t make the experience so. Sacred art may be crafted without any proficiency, or substantial intra-arts communication, and leave the viewer with a saccharine aftertaste. Likewise, profane art may be skillfully crafted but leave the viewer denigrated in experience due to the subject. Yet these murals have both the skillful craftsmanship of an artist, a subject matter that uplifts the viewer, and an intra-arts communication that is so deep it could take a lifetime to understand.

Moreover, the very act of pausing to reflect upon the creative act of beauty, in this case, rendering a large-scale oil on canvas project, and the ability to influence emotions from aesthetic beauty may have various effects upon the viewer. One effect may be to cause reflection and recognize that the act of creating may mimic not only the seen world but also somehow represents the wonder contained therein. And Arthur with its centuries of legend and lore is a wonderful vehicle for the relation of wonder! Yet, where did notions of creating and wonder initiate? Where is its first starting point? How did mankind come to not only know, see, and react to such things but want to create it themselves? With these questions in mind, we can refer to Evans bi-directional link, and see that aesthetic beauty can be linked downstream to viewers. Some viewers may form questions and considerations about not just the artistic acts of creation and numinous wonder, but beyond the murals to where creative acts and awe originated. This points to another reason to specifically embrace the beauty and wonder of an Arthurian mural cycle. The murals may be a bi-directional sign downstream to the viewer who in the experience of the murals’ beauty could be pointed upstream towards God. In other words, the King of the universe created humans in His image with creative yearnings and an ability to recognize and experience beauty. Likewise, these murals demonstrate the beauty of the artist’s immense creative ability and capacity to both portray and evoke wonder.

The last reason one should consider the mural cycle is they possess fantastic examples of iconography. Within an art historical context, iconographic elements are the “visual conventions and symbols used to portray ideas and identify individuals and attributes in a work of art.”[37] Iconography is then an incredibly important toolset when reading a painting as certain symbols, colors, and even animals may tell us something more about the narrative in a compact, specific, and creative way. Iconography also does something else — it teaches us, the viewer, to look. By reading a painting with this knowledge, we are taught to disallow a passive, quick scan. Rather it helps inculcate a rich intentionality and precision. From an apologetic standpoint, consider Tim Muehlhoff’s goal of listening.[38] Muehlhoff says that when engaging with an interlocutor we should listen to understand.[39] When our interlocutor is a painting, iconography is one of the ways we can “listen” to understand what the artist creator is expressing and come to a much deeper understanding. Additionally, iconography may be one of those clues if the art is a bi-directional teleological natural sign communicating some form of exaltation in the experience.

Specific to our investigation, the first panel alone is a rich quarry sending forth Galahad and the viewer upon more than one quest. Within the background is a rich blue tapestry-like layer, with animals in a less saturated blue in alternating patterns of peacocks and lions. The peacock “with its unique beauty, makes it a handy symbol for power, strength, confidence, and even divinity, something with which most monarchs throughout history have wanted to be associated.”[40] Perhaps then it is no wonder that a peacock could be associated with Arthur and the grail. Additionally, peacocks in Christian symbolism may mean “a sign of immortality and for the Christian, a reminder of heaven.”[41] The use of this symbol then becomes a multifaceted one that both reinforces and adds to the painting’s conversation. The peacock standing for divinity, heaven, and immortality is appropriate and effective for grail lore with heavenly aspiration as key components to the narrative story.

Secondly are the lions. The lions are an intriguing iconography to decode. First and foremost is the most well-known symbology of a lion, “Strength, courage, majesty and fortitude.”[42] So far so good, and the relation of Galahad, a knight, and quest all fit well with this symbology. However, there may be a second layer to the iconography of the lion. O’Shaughnessey notes in her article that both the delivery room (the original purpose of the room in which the murals are located) and Abbey were influenced by Venice in particular.[43] In fact, the delivery room is reminiscent of the Doge’s palace.[44] If we look closely at the lions, they have something tied about their midsection with flourishes almost imitating wings. Importantly, the patron saint of Venice is the Apostle Mark whose emblem is a winged lion. In fact, winged lions abound in the city and in prolific amounts of Venetian art. Possibly, these symbolically winged lions are in reference to a great Italian city that inspired Abbey. On a poetic front, and with no academic evidence for this, my personal aside is that I find it interesting that the Gospel of Mark is traditionally thought of as the action-adventure gospel filled with temporal rigorous words and there is a potentially winged lion in the first panel. Likewise, Tennyson’s poetry, and Abbey’s murals form a synergistic duo of movement and activity. Philip Elliott notes the activity of Tennyson’s poem saying “in defense of the vigorous movement of the stanza it should be noticed that Tennyson perceived Galahad as active rather than passive as the movement and diction of the poem illustrate. Most of the verbs which refer to Galahad are active: battle, ride, leap, go.”[45] Likewise, the Gospel of Mark is filled with “and then he went” “quickly” “right away”. We can postulate that perhaps the winged lion is in reference to the city known to have influenced the artist, which refers to the action-adventure Gospel, which matches the very structure and word choice of the poem which inspired our murals. It’s an intriguing thought that refers to our intra-arts communication, but one that I can’t press further.

Additionally, the first panel lends itself to further iconographical study, and one more point should be drawn out. The angel holding the veiled grail (which matches the red color of Galahad’s red tunic in subsequent panels) is preceded by a dove holding out a censer, and several doves are beneath this angel’s feet. The dove is of course the sign of the Holy Spirit, and the censer holds out the incense. The symbology is clear — this is a divine quest, sent to Galahad by God, and he is set apart for its completion.

This has all been in reference to one of the panels, which means we’ve merely touched on possible iconography. However, hopefully it stands as a testament to the power of looking to understand an object that is simultaneously stationary on display, yet dynamic in its communication. Thus, these paintings are indeed worthy of remembrance. They are worthy because of their beauty and intra-arts communication, both of which beckon us to remember more, to consider the good, and recall the stories of heroism to ourselves, and to lift our eyes. They teach us to look with intentionality and to understand. They teach us about the true, the good, and the beautiful. So, if you’re ever in Boston, here’s my recommendation: track down the most delicious Boston Cream Pie at an area bakery, then travel to Copley Square, climb the stairs, and lift your eyes, and maybe even have Tennyson in your pocket. You won’t be disappointed.


Citation Information

Elizabeth Martin, “Arthur and Abbey,” An Unexpected Journal: King Arthur Legendarium 6, no. 2. (Summer 2023), 119-135.


Endnotes

[1] Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sir Galahad. https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/tennyson-sir-galahad. Accessed 11/20/22.

[2]  Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), 8, 10.

[3]  Margaret O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” Arthuriana (Winter 1994, Vol. 4, No. 4, King Arthur in America): 299.

[4] Ibid., 298.

[5] Dorsey Armstrong, 2015. The Great Courses: King Arthur: History and Legend. Lecture 17, “The Holy Grail from Chrétien to Dan Brown.” Audible 24:02.

[6] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 300.

[7] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), i.

[8] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 300.

[9] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), i.

[10] For more information on Abbey’s work see the following: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: https://collections.mfa.org/search/objects/*/Edwin%20Austin%20Abbey/images?page=5. Accessed 1/3/22. Yale University Art Gallery, Yale New Haven: https://artgallery.yale.edu/collection?query=Edwin%20Austin%20Abbey. Accessed 5/25/23/23.

[11] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 299.

[12] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 299.

[13] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), ii.

[14] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 303.

[15] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” 303.

[16] Ibid., 299.

[17] Ibid., 300.

[18] Ibid., 310.

[19] Ibid., 310.

[20] Philip L. Elliott, “Tennyson’s ‘Sir Galahad,’” Victorian Poetry (Winter, 19971, Vol. 9, No 4), 451.

[21] Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King (Digireeds: 2019), 171.

[22] Arthur Waite, The Holy Grail: The Galahad Quest in Arthurian Literature, (Kessinger Publishing’s Rare Reprints), 49.

[23] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), 7.

[24] Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 322 and 333.

[25] Ibid., 333.

[26] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), 11.

[27] Dorsey Armstrong, 2015. The Great Courses: King Arthur: History and Legend. Lecture 17, “The Holy Grail from Chrétien to Dan Brown,” Audible.

[28] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), 11

[29] Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sir Galahad, accessed 11/20/22, https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/tennyson-sir-galahad.

[30] Tennyson, Idylls of the King, 171.

[31] Ibid. 173.

[32] Tennyson, Idylls of the King, 172.

[33] Boston Public Library, A Description of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Quest of the Holy Grail: A Frieze in the Boston Public Library (Boston: Association Publications, 1936), 3.

[34] William A. Dyrness, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 70.

[35] C. Stephen Evans, “The NaÏve Teleological Argument,” in Two Dozen (Or So) Arguments for God (ed., J.L. Walls and T. Dougherty; New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 110.

[36] Evans, “The NaÏve Teleological Argument,” in Two Dozen (Or So) Arguments for God, 110.

[37] John T. Paoletti and Gary M. Radke, Art in Renaissance Italy: Second Edition, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002), 494.

[38] Tim Muehlhoff, I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love (Illinois: IVP Books, 2014), 94-95.

[39] Ibid., 95.

[40] Phoenix Art Museum, The Symbolism of Peacocks. https://phxart.org/blog/the-symbolism-of-peacocks/. Accessed 1/1/23.

[41] Philip Kosloski. Aleteia: What Does the Peacock Symbolize in Christian Art, Published 6/26/18. https://aleteia.org/2017/06/26/what-does-the-peacock-symbolize-in-christian-art/.  Accessed 1/1/23.

[42] Philip Kosloski. Aleteia: In Images the Powerful Symbolism of the Lion in Christian Art Published 05/16/18. https://aleteia.org/2018/05/16/in-images-the-powerful-symbolism-of-the-lion-in-christian-art/. Accessed 1/1/23.

[43] O’Shaughnessey, “Edwin Austin Abbey’s Reinterpretation of the Grail Quest: The Boston Public Library Murals,” Arthuriana, 299, 300.

[44] Ibid., 300.

[45] Philip L. Elliott, “Tennyson’s ‘Sir Galahad,’” Victorian Poetry (Winter, 19971, Vol. 9, No 4):449.