Sunday 2 December 2012

Tristan and Iseult

Brush the mold from Yseult's hair and face:
     And you will find that swarthy furious gold
     Still smoldering under the blanket of black mold;
And you will find those eyelids frail as lace;
Eyes like blue stones washed in a windy place;
     That mouth whose glowing motion once controlled
     Cornwall and Lyonnesse; that throat as cold
As a long curve in water, white as a vase
Of moon-swept ivory: you will discover
     That body whose keen pallor was a sword
Unsheathed only for one lord and lover,
     Flashing only for one lover and lord:
Your eyes will blur to find with sharp surprise
Tears burning on her eyelids and her eyes!

~Yseult by Joseph Auslander (1924)

Tristan and Isolde by John Duncan (1866-1945)
Tristan and Isolde by Herbert James Draper (1901)
Tristram Carried His Love Away by Thomas Mackenzie (1920)
Tristram and Isolde Drinking the Love Potion by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1867)
Tristram and Isoude by Evelyn Paul (1920)
Wagner Girdle: Tristan Dies by Alexander Fisher (1893-1896)
Reunion in Death by August Spieß (1892)
 Tristram and Iseult by Sindey Meteyard (1868-1947)
Isolde by Aubrey Beardsley (Illustration in Pan, Berlin 1900)
La Belle Iseult by William Dyce (1853)
Sir Tristram Assults King Mark by Howard Pyle (1905)
Sir Tristram Gave Her a Ring by Arthur A Dixon (1921)
The Death of Sir Tristan, from The Story of Tristan and Isolde, William Morris & Co. by Ford Madox Brown
The Death of Tristram by Marianne Stokes 1902
They Went into Their Country of Benoye by William Russel Flint (1927)
Tristan and Isolde by Salvador Dali (1944)
by Yoshitaka Amano (1980s)
Seperation by August Spieß (1892)
Tristan by Nicholas Roerich (1912)
Yseult la Blonde by Gaston Bussière (1900)
Tristan and Isolde with the Potion by John William Waterhouse (1916)
 Tristan and Isolde by Edmund Leighton (1902)
Medieval French story about Tristan and Iseult made a great comeback during the Arthurian Revival in the 19th and early 20th Century. The lovers inspired not only the Pre-Raphaelites, who were so keen on taking inspiration from Arthurian legends, but also Art Nouveau artist, or surrealist like Dali, not mentioning the book illustrators, who treated the subject very differently, as you can see.


  1. This is great. I'm a French pupil and I work on Tristan and Iseult.

    Thank you!!

  2. Variation on the Tristan chord, published this week.

  3. What freaks me out in the "Tristan and Isolde" version by John Duncan on the first page of your blog is that they have almost identical faces, like brother and sister. See identical noses, chins and lips. Take away the hair, make the skin tone the same and you can see they are like twins. Weird.

  4. La Belle Iseult by William Dyce (1853) is by William Morris, painting his bride to be, Jane Morris. Who is William Dyce??


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