Edwin Austin Abbey: The Quest for the Holy Grail - part 1: the child Galahad (1895)

(Boston Public Library, Boston, USA)

This painting is a part of the 'The Quest for the Holy Grail'-serie. Abbey was commissioned to create a fifteen-panel mural for the Book Delivery Room at the new Boston Public Library and chose the subject 'the search for the Holy Grail'. The holy grail was considered either a bowl or dish which was used by Jesus during the last supper or a bowl which was used to collect Christ’s blood after he was stabbed by a spear on the cross. According to the medieval legends this grail was acquired by Joseph of Arimathea and brought to England. In the legends of King Arthur, the knights of the round table were send out to find this holy grail. Galahad was a knight of King Arthur's Round Table and in medieval literature he was known for his gallantry and purity. Together with Bors, and Percival he is one of the three knights who eventually found the grail. In this painting, the first of the series, Galahad as a baby (a nun holds him) is visited by a dove bearing a golden censer and an angel carrying the Grail. This vision shows that Galahad is the chosen one as he is a descendant, by his mother, of Joseph of Arimathea. Painting from 1895.

Part 1: The child Galahad
Part 2: Sir Lancelot and Sir Bors outfit Galahad with his spurs
Part 3: The Arthurian Round Table and the fable of the Seat Perilous
Part 4: The knights of the Round Table set forth on the search for the Holy Grail
Part 5: King Amfortas and the castle of the Grail lie under a spell
Part 6: Sir Galahad contemplates his quest
Part 7: The 7 Knights of Darkness
Part 8: Sir Galahad receives the key to the Castle of Maidens
Part 9: The Castle of Maidens
Part 10: Galahad Parts From His Bride Blanchefleur
Part 11: The passing of King Amfortas
Part 12: Sir Galahad passes from the land
Part 13: Sir Galahad crosses the seas in Solomon's ship
Part 14: The city of Sarras
Part 15: The Golden Tree