The Death Journey of the Lily Maid of Astolat

The Death Journey of the Lily Maid of Astolat, 1911
Walter Crane (1845-1915)
Watercolour, pen and ink on paper
BORGM 00578


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This work is one of 16 original illustrations produced by Crane for the book King Arthur’s Knights:  The  Tales Retold for Boys and Girls, 1911 by Henry Gilbert (1868-1937).

It depicts Elaine, the young maid of  Astolat, who dies of unrequited love for the Arthurian knight, Sir Lancelot.  Her funeral barge is being punted down the River Thames.

In her left hand she holds a bouquet of white lilies, traditionally a symbol that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.