Sir Galahad at the Ruined Chapel

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1859 (1857)


◦ George Somes Layard, Tennyson and his Pre-Raphaelite Publishers (1894).

◦ Marsh, “Pre–Raphaelite Artists and the Moxon,” 11-18.

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 107-112.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 70 (no. 115).

◦ Treuherz, Prettejohn, and Becker, DGR, 52, 177 (no. 84).

◦ Wildman, Visions of Love and Life, 180-181.

Scholarly Commentary


DGR first made a drawing in 1856-57 intended for inclusion in Moxon's famous edition of Tennyson's Poems (1857). Sharp (page 112) gives a prose description of the drawing, which illustrates lines 25-36 of Tennyson's “Sir Galahad”. The drawing went into a proof stage but never appeared in the book itself. DGR made a watercolour on the same subject two years later.

Though directly related to the third stanza of Tennyson's poem, the picture alludes, so to speak, to the theme that is most explicit in the second, which focuses on Galahad's “virgin heart” (line 24). In the drawing Galahad is caught as he pauses at a well to take a drink before he resumes his lonely chivalric questing. His clothing and posture distinctly recall the figure of the man in the St. Cecilia drawing, where the theme of virginity is also prominent and which DGR made at the same time.

DGR wanted to make a second drawing for this poem but in fact never did. The four that went into Moxon's edition were: St. Cecilia; King Arthur and the Weeping Queens; The Lady of Shalott; and Mariana in the South.

Production History

DGR made both a drawing and a watercolour of this subject. The drawing does not appear to survive, but we have both an electrotype of a woodcut made from it (with DGR's elaborate comments for modifying the woodcut) and a reproduction of the drawing itself. The watercolour was made in 1859, the drawing in late 1856 (see DGR's letter to Allingham of 18 December 1856, Fredeman, Correspondence 56. 59). The woodcut was executed by W. J. Linton, whose work was much admired by DGR).

The price that Dalziel paid to DGR for the drawings is uncertain since various acounts have been given. Most likely is that he was paid £12 for each drawing, though some estimates go as high as £30 (see Fredeman, Correspondence 56. 62n).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s115.raw.xml