The Temptations, an original screen print by Clive Hicks-Jenkins and the Penfold Press

The Temptations

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'The Temptations’, Screen print, signed by the artist. Edition size: 75, image size: 55.5 x 55.5cm, paper size: 70.5 x 69cm

Given what awaits him when he finds the Green Chapel we might forgive Gawain for tarrying a while, and given the warmth of his welcome it is no wonder he obeys Bertilak’s instruction to relax while the rest of the men are out hunting. We, however, have been forewarned by clues in the text, such as a reference to ‘tricks’. Gawain, we sense, is about to be tested, and now he has no armour, no shield emblazoned with the figure of Mary. We see him for the first time as a young man, athletic but vulnerable as he lies naked, his eyes closed.

James Russell