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The ancient legend tells how the Britons were betrayed to the Saxons. Rowena is kneeling and accepting a cup from Vortigern, Prince of South East Britain, who has fallen in love with her. Her father, Hengist, is standing behind whilst soldiers sit a round a table. The story was recounted, with some romantic license, by Geoffrey of Monmouth (d.1155) and given extra authenticity by being included in John Speed's 'History of Great Britain' (1611).
oil on canvas
H 153.5 x W 214.5 cm
accepted in lieu of death duties on the estate of Edmund, 4th Earl of Morley; transferred from HM Treasury, 1957