April: A Chivalric Spring


Our April gallery features the stalwart soldiers, steeds, and armored combatants battling on the pages of our collection.

Scroll down to discover more about each image.

Maidens on Magazine Covers. The cover of this 1910 issue of Woman’s Home Companion featured “the fairer sex” crowning a kneeling knight as the victor of a jousting tournament. Inside, the American monthly magazine ran articles and advertisements about domesticity, fashion, health, and social issues.

Leon Guipon, “The Fair Crowning the Brave,” cover of Woman’s Home Companion (New York: The Crowell Publishing Company, October 1910).

“So all day long the noise of battle roll’d….” Alberto Sangorski’s 1912 illustrations of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Morte d’Arthur thrust the reader into the legendary battle that ended King Arthur’s life. The illuminated capitals surrounding the battle scenes mimic the floriated and gold-leafed borders of medieval manuscripts.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Morte d’Arthur, illustrated by Alberto Sangorski (London: Chatto & Windus, 1912).



Knight Nouveau. Huon of Bordeaux is the hero of a French poem that dates from the thirteenth century. Translated into modern French for the first time in 1898 by Gaston Paris, the poem tells of the arduous challenges that Huon must face after he accidentally kills Charlemagne’s son in battle.

Gaston Paris, Aventures merveilleuses de Huon de Bordeaux, pair de France, et de la belle Esclarmonde, ainsi que du petit roi de feérie Auberon (Paris: Maison Didot, 1898).

Love is a Battlefield. French artist Henri Malteste, who worked under the professional moniker “Malatesta,” specialized in medievalesque illustrations. The image above comes from a series of ten postcards by Malatesta which narrates a story about a knight, his wife, and a chastity belt in bright colors and rhyming couplets.

Chartres Champions. With swords drawn, colorful knights charge into battle in the opening illustration of Isabel Butler’s 1906 translation of “La Chanson de Roland” from the medieval French. Each of the 220 limited-edition copies featured this hand-colored illumination, based on a stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral. President Theodore Roosevelt wrote of the volume that “beautiful is the only word to describe it […] I am proud as an American that such a bit of work should be done in America.”

Isabel Butler (trans.), The Song of Roland (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1906).