God Speed!

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God Speed!, 1900.

God Speed! is an oil painting by Edmund Blair Leighton, finished in 1900. It is a depiction of the lady of a knight tying a red sash around his arm before he leads his soldiers to battle. The knight is then expected to survive the fray and return the sash to his lady.

Although Leighton was not a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, this painting and several others of his are often grouped with them because they share common elements of attractive women in romantic scenes.


I first saw this painting on a poster in one of those mall shops that sell tarot cards, incense, and tye-dye dresses when I was around 20-years-old. I thought it was quite nice, but a bit too idealistic for my tastes. Everything is extremely clean, no dents or rust on the knights armor, no dirt stains on the lady's dress, even the castle walls are immaculate. Still, it is a professionally done painting. In particular, I like the gargoyles on the wall, the griffon in the foreground, the chain mail on the knight, and the beautiful woman. However, this painting is just another sad reminder that women are expected to be chaste and patient while their men leave to do all the important deeds.