Best Viewed: Internet Explorer

Arthurian Legends Illustrated

Part III.  Magic and Sorcery



"Ambros Prophesies to King Vortigern," 15th century manuscript, Lambeth Palace.

[As a youth, Ambros/Merlin foretells that the red dragon--the British kings

leading up to King Arthur--will defeat  the white dragon--the invading Saxons.]


Stonehenge at dawn [reputedly created by Merlin]

*                                *

     "Merlin, the Enchanter" by Louis Rhead                    "Merlin, changed into the appearance of a

                                                                                                                  fair young squire, by degrees made

                                                                                                                     acquaintance with Vivian, who told him     

                                                                                                                     who she was" by Albert Herter.    

*                            *

     "The Damsel of the Lake, called Nimue the                                 "Dame du Lac (Lady of the Lake)"                 

Enchantress" by Frank Cadogan Cowper                                   [Cover from Marion Zimmer Bradley's       

                                                                                                                   The Mists of Avalon, 1982]   

*                                  *

"The Beguiling of Merlin" by E. C. Burne-Jones                             "A Magic Circle" by J. W. Waterhouse                

[Merlin is bewitched by Nimue/Vivien.]                                             [Nimue/Vivien usurps Merlin's magic.]    


"Oh, Merlin, tho' you do not love me, save, yet save me!" by Louis Rhead

[Lightning storm--Vivien plays helpless female.]


"Merlin and Vivien" by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

[Vivien seduces Merlin's secrets from him.]


"Merlin" by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

[Nimue/Vivien magically imprisons Merlin in bush, tree, cave,

or tower of air, depending on which source is consulted.]


"The Lady of the Lake Sits by the Fountain in Arroy"

by Howard Pyle

*                                *

                         "Sir Gawaine Sups with Lady Ettard" by Howard Pyle           "The Lady of the Lake Finds Pellias Wounded" by Howard Pyle                     

           [Sir Gawaine betrays Pellias with his beloved Ettard.]                          [The Lady enchants Pellias into requited love with herself.]            


"Morgan le Fay was put to school in a nunnery, and
there she learned so much that she was a great
clerk of necromancy" by Sir William Russell Flint.


"Four Queens Find Lancelot Sleeping" by Frank Cadogan Cowper.

[The fairy queens try to seduce Lancelot who is

enchanted and imprisoned by Morgan le Fay.]


"Morgan la Fay, Queen of Avalon" by Frederick Sandys

[Morgana uses magic to oppose Arthur's reign.]

*                                *

She Filched Away the Sword" by Jessie M. King                                 "Morgan Casts Away Excalibur's                     

       [Morgana steals Excalibur for her lover                                                      Scabbard" by H. J. Ford.                      

             to use against King Arthur.]                                                    [Part of Morgana's plan to defeat Arthur.]     



Youth and early history of Merlin the Magician.

Bulfinch's summary of  Merlin's life.

Find out more about Merlin.

Those magical women: Morgan and her Sisters: Enchantresses in Arthurian Tradition

More on Lady of the Lake.

Resources on "Arthurian Literature and Art": Celtic-Medieval and Victorian-Modern--Victorian and modern art.



Return to Nichols Home Page

NOTE: Students should be advised that there is no one standard version of the King Arthur legends. This "Arthurian Legends Illustrated" represents an amalgam of different artists' views.

Painting, top of page: "Attainment of the Holy Grail" (tapestry) by E. C. Burne-Jones

File last updated: 1/04/12