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Women of the Arthurian Legend

photo by Katherine Marsh, UR

The women of Camelot have often been overshadowed by the men; the stainless king, noble knights, and mage Merlin possessed sufficient complexity to entertain all audiences. Just as the men of the legend have overshadowed the women, so, too, have male authors, translators, and artists enjoyed a greater degree of recognition. There are, however, a number of female artists and illustrators who have subjected the legend to their own gaze and gifts. The translations of Lady Charlotte Guest, writings of Jessie Weston, and works of Sara Teasdale have greatly enriched Arthurian lore. Julia Margaret Cameron brought her unique vision to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and produced the first series of photographic images to accompany the legend. Jessie M. King not only reproduced the legend in her line drawings, but perpetuated the tales in works of stained glass and batik. Many other women have treated the Arthurian legend in a manner that merits attention, and the following creations, renditions, and translations are a celebration of those contributions and skills.

Artists, Illustrators, and Photographers

Brickdale, Eleanor Fortescue (1872-1945)

Brundage, Frances (1854-1937)

Cameron, Julia Margaret (1815-1879)

Galbreth, Jessica

Harrison, Florence (1884-1955)

King, Jessie M. (1875-1949)

Kirk, M[aria]. L[ouise]. (1860-193x)

Rutland, Florence

Authors and Translators

Bannerman, Anne (1765-1829)

Bartlett, Gertrude (1876-1942)

Brereton, Jane (See Melissa) (1685-1740)

Cooke, Rose Terry (1827-1892)

Costello, Louisa Stuart (1799-1870)

Craik, Dina Maria Mulock (1826-1887)

Guest, Lady Charlotte (1812-1895)

Haywood, Eliza (1693?-1756), and William Hatchett (fl. 1730-1741)

Hemans, Mrs. Felicia (1793-1835)

Higley, Sarah t,ed.

Jewett, Sophie (1861-1909)

Kilmer, Aline (1888-1941)

Landon, Letitia Elizabeth (1802-1838)

Lounsbery, Grace Constant (1901-19xx)

McNary, Sarah F.

Melissa (See Brereton, Jane)

Mumford, Ethel Watts (1878-1940)

Palfrey, Sara Hammond (1923-1914)

Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart (1844-1911)

Reynolds, Marion Lee

Smith, Judyth Schaubhut (See Chausson, Ernest)

  • Le Roi Arthus (1892-1896); translated by Judyth Schaubhut Smith

Sweetman, Elinor

Teasdale, Sara (1884-1933)

Trask, Katrina (1853-1922)

Weinberger, Mildred

Weston, Jessie (translator) (1850-1928)

Whitney, Helen Hay (1875-1944)

Young, Ella (1867-1955)

Female Characters of the Arthurian Legend
  • Elaine of Astolat/ The Lady of Shallott
  • Elaine of Corbenik
  • Enid
  • The Grail Maiden
  • Guinevere
  • Isolt (Isolde, Iseult)
  • The Lady of the Lake
  • Lynette
  • Morgan le Fay
  • Morgause
  • The Novice
  • Ragnell/The Loathly Hag
  • Sandy
  • Vivien (Nineve, Nimue, Niniane)