The Talisman by Walter SCOTT
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
21 x 35 cm
The Talisman, also titled Richard in Palestine, is a historical novel by the Scottish writer Walter SCOTT published on June 22, 1825.
At the head of the third crusade, Richard the Lionheart took over from Sultan Saladin the places on the coast of Palestine. He is now seeking to seize the holy city. Dissension broke out among his allies who intrigued those around Richard.
Our oil on paper illustrates an important passage from the Talisman known as the judicial duel.
The scene includes several protagonists of the novel, namely:
- Kenneth: Scottish valiant, Richard's designated champion to face the Saladin champion and lover of Edith Plantagenet. He later revealed himself in the novel as being a Scottish prince. He is present at the center of the composition.
- Édith Plantagenet: cousin of Richard the Lionheart, slightly off-center on the left,
- The Saladin champion: man chooses from the best Saladin fighters, positioned on the right of the composition.
The sketched scene therefore represents the duel between Richard's champion, Kenneth, and the appointed champion of Saladin. Edith must marry the winner of the duel.
The whole takes place against the background of an oriental landscape in a setting of general confrontation between the English crossed troops and those of Saladin.