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Henry Peach Robinson
Elaine Watching the Shield of Lancelot
National Science and Media Museum
The Royal Photographic Society Collection, Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund
This photograph was included in the exhibition The Pre-Raphelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848-1875 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (October 31, 2010 - January 30, 2011)
The story of Elaine, a tragic tale of unrequited love, was told by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur (1485) and reworked by Tennyson in Idylls of the King. Lancelot has left his shield in Elaine's care while he competes in a tournament with a blank shield to disguise his identity. She eventually dies of a broken heart, and, at her request, her body is borne by boat to Camelot.