Posts Tagged ‘Edwin Austin Abbey’


detail from The Arthurian Round Table and the fable of the Seat Perilous

Between 1893 and 1902 fifteen panels were installed in the Boston Public Library in Copley Square depicting the story of The Quest for the Holy Grail. Conceived of by artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) he based his work on Lord Alfred Tennyson’s  version of the Arthurian legend. In recent years the BPL has done a magnificent job of capturing the beauty of the full panels and sharing each panel’s story with the public through Flikr. That link is below. When I walk in with my camera I tend to focus in on the details and this is what I recently saw.



detail from King Amfortas and the Castle of the Grail lie under a spell


This time one of my favorite panels to focus on what the last in the sequence, The Golden Tree. According to the BPL summary, an adaptation from an outline by Henry James, “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.”







Well worth a visit to see in person but until then you can see the full cycle of panels here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/sets/72157647672175522/with/15258034891/

And if you have a large cup of tea at hand, or something else, you can read Tennyson’s Holy Grail upon which the murals were based. They don’t write poems like this anymore. 🙂 http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/tennyson-the-holy-grail

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The Abbey Room at the Boston Public Library, with its richly colored wall paintings, is one of my favorite indoor sites in Boston.  The murals depict the Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail and, according to the Boston Public Library website, were installed in 1895 by Edwin Austin Abbey.  Today I had the opportunity to drop in for a moment to snap a few photos. Here are a few favorites from the day.  You can read more about the Grail story here and you can read more about Edwin Austin Abbey here.

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The Abbey Room is located on the second floor of the McKim Building in the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.  Its high walls are covered by a series of mural paintings depicting The Quest for the Holy Grail.  A lovely place to hang out on a rainy day in Boston.

Painted by Edwin Austin Abbey.

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