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The Accolade

Artist: Edmund Blair-Leighton
Created: 1901
Dimensions (cm): 108.0 x 182.3
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Private collection

Leighton – Blair painted in the era of Victorian Romanticism. He was a historical genre painter who painted mainly medieval themes. He often painted elegant and beautiful ladies in landscapes or interiors. Some of his paintings include: Lady Godiva and Abelard and His Pupil.

The Accolade is a finely detailed painting set in medieval times showing a beautiful red haired Queen knighting a young man. This is a very romantic painting with the fair maiden and the handsome and brave young man. The Knight is bowed at her feet in a position of obedience. To the left of the queen we can see the audience gathered to witness the knighting. They appear to be watching the lovely queen with rapt attention. There is no king on display in this painting and clearly the painter intends for our eye to focus on the beautiful queen. The picture makes one think of the famous Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot. One can easily imagine a whole background story to this painting. One has the feeling that the young queen in this painting has feelings of tenderness and even love for the young man at her feet. Most likely she is not able to act upon her feelings for this young Knight. Perhaps because the painting is so reminiscent of Lancelot and Guinevere, one can’t help but think that although they probably truly love one another, as with most good love stories they will come to a tragic end. Perhaps the young Knight is about to head off into a battle from which sadly, he will never return.


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