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Monday, September 29, 2008
"Ah," said Turquine, "Launcelot, thou art unto me most welcome that ever was knight, for we shall
never depart till the one of us be dead."
I have always wanted to illustrate scenes from the story of King Arthur. It is a rather ominous undertaking since so many greater artists have already done fantastic work with it. N.C Wyeth and Pyle come immediately to mind. Yet Arthur's story, like most great mythological classics, can't help but inspire. Despite the possible unflattering comparisons to the giants of illustration, I found that I couldn't wait to begin this project.
I listened through Le Morte D'Arthur to find the scenes that would fit best with the demands of the commission. I had many ideas for some of the great battle scenes in the story. But I was told battle scenes would possibly not quite convey the right message for a room where they would be meeting clients.
I found myself listening and rewinding to a few passages on the adventures of Lancelot a great deal. For the first piece in the commission I decided to try one of my favorite scenes from the adventures of the Knights of the Round table. Here is an excerpt from Mallory's excellent version:
"It is well said," said Sir Launcelot, "but sithen it is so that I may have thy friendship,what knight is he that thou so hatest above all other?"
"Faithfully," said Sir Turquine, "his name is Sir Launcelot du Lake, for he slew my brother, Sir Carados, at the dolorous tower, that was one of the best knights alive; and therefore him I except of all knights, for may I once meet with him, the one of us shall make an end of other, I make mine avow. And for Sir Launcelot's sake I have slain an hundred good knights, and as many I have maimed all utterly that they might never after help themselves, and many have died in prison, and yet have I three score and four, and all shall be delivered so thou wilt tell me thy name,so be it that thou be not Sir Launcelot."
"Now, see I well," said Sir Launcelot, "that such a man I might be, I might have peace, and such a man I might be, that there should be war mortal betwixt us. And now, sir knight, at thy request I will that thou wit and know that I am Launcelot du Lake, and very knight of the Table Round. And now I defy thee, and do thy best."
"Ah," said Turquine, "Launcelot,thou art unto me most welcome that ever was knight, for we shall never depart till the one of us be dead."
Then they hurtled together as two wild bulls rushing and lashing with their shields and swords, that sometime they fell both over their noses. Thus they fought still two hours and more, and never would have rest, and Sir Turquine gave Sir Launcelot many wounds that all the ground thereas they fought was all bespeckled with blood.