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authority forgets a dying king

This is an original piece depicting Sir Bedivere (Bedwyr / Bédoier) contemplating giving Excalibur back to the water as per Arthur's dying wish, having been dealt a mortal would by Mordred (Medraut). Bedivere attempted this twice before finally fulfilling the King's command. The first time he could not relinquish the sword due to it's great beauty; "For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks, myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work of subtlest jewellery." This piece shows the second attempt and the doubt of Bedivere as he is halted by his pride in the achievements of Arthur and his fellow knights. He considers Excalibur a testament, a living record of proof that future men may gaze upon and know their deeds; "What record, or what relic of my lord should be to aftertime, but empty breath and rumours of a doubt? But were this kept, stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings, some one might show it at a joust of arms, saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur." Bevivere returns to Arthur to lie for a second time telling him that he has thrown the sword into the water at which Arthur, now close to death and knowing Bedivere is lying, says "Authority forgets a dying king.

I wanted to convey a sense contemplation in this piece, showing Bedivere deep in thought of the memories he feared that would be lost along with the sword. The quotes are from Idylls of the King, specifically The Passing of Arthur by Alfred Lord Tennyson 1896. The poem deals with themes of faith and doubt and the conflict within Bedivere of him wanting to fulfil his knightly duty and oath to his king while lamenting all that has been lost. At this point he is the last remaining knight of the round table who still hold fealty to Arthur. This has been living rent free in my mind for a while and I started a sketch (below) about a month ago. Initially I imagined Bedivere's reflection to be that of the Lady of the Lake, however, I chose instead to remove any fantastical or supernatural element and instead focus on the pride and grief of a human subject. The piece was drawn entirely, from concept to final, with a stylus on a Wacom Cintiq. I used a wide variety of commercial brush sets including pencil, watercolour and oil and I am very happy with the result. The size of the piece is enormous and I intend to have it framed at A1 (23.4" x 33.1" / 594mm x 841mm). Prints are available in the link below this post.

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Stunning piece, Dan!

Dan Read
Dan Read
Feb 16
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Thank you so much for your comment Mary, I’m glad you like it. Sometimes it feels like I’m shooting these posts out into the ether so I really appreciate you taking the time to comment 💐

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