The Winchester Round Table
The Table hung unpainted in the Great Hall, first on the east wall then the west, for
almost three centuries before Henry VIII had it painted just before Charles V's visit. King Arthur
looks very much like the young Henry VIII and the center is decorated with the Tudor rose.
David Ford provided the following information about the table:
"The painting of the Winchester Round Table is sometimes dated to just prior to
the visit of Emperor Charles V to Winchester in July 1522. Henry VIII had lost out to Charles in his
bid for the Imperial Crown and the suggestion goes that Henry wanted to remind the Emperor of his
claimed descent from King Arthur's family and thus Constantine the Great.
"The painting may actually have taken place during repair work of 1516/17.
X-Ray photography has shown that the original King's likeness beneath the later repaintings
certainly looks very much like the young Henry VIII.
"The table itself has been hanging in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle since
at least 1463. The wood used to make it has been radio-carbon dated to 1255 (+/-16) and dendro-
chronologically dated to 1224 (+/-1); allowing for trimming and seasoning this gives a date of
circa 1250-1280. The most likely date does appear to be early in the reign of Edward I when, as
Cath says, the King took a great interest in all things King Arthur and was present at the opening
of the great man's supposed tomb in Glastonbury Abbey."
In all, there are twenty-five spaces and 26 shield blazons (two for Arthur: one which
is three gold crowns on a red background and the other which is thirteen gold crowns on a blue or
purple background. The blazons and summaries are for Arthur, Galahad,
Alynore, Mordred, Lancelot, Gauen, Libeaus, Brunor, Degove, Dagonet, Hector, Kay, Safer,
Lamorak, Lucan, La Cote Mal Tayle, Gareth, Bedwere, Blubrys, Plomyd, Bors,
Lyonell, Pellinor, Percival, and Tristan.