The legend of King Arthur

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A popular and well known tale, the Legend of King Arthur was chosen for the walls of the Queens Robing Room. It was proposed by the artist William Dyce and provided the opportunity for him to illustrate what the Victorians regarded as the starting point of their history. There had been a revival of interest in Arthur and his court and he was regarded as a national hero.

Working from Malory's epic romance of King Arthur, Dyce chose the subjects by concentrating on the virtues displayed by the Knights as part of the ancient code of chivalry. "Religion", "Courtesy", "Generosity", "Hospitality", "Mercy", "Fidelity" and "Courage" were the virtues he selected. Although the first three murals were completed successfully by 1852, his work progressed slowly in the following years, and the scheme remained incomplete at his death in 1864. "Fidelity" and "Courage" were never executed.

To complete the scheme of the Arthurian Legend, the sculptor Henry Armstead was commissioned to carve a series of oak bas reliefs which extend along each wall beneath Dyce's frescoes.