Photo courtesy of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery/Bridgeman Art Library

The super-virtuous knight Sir Galahad (center right) prays before a chamber containing the Holy Grail, while his companions Sir Perceval and Sir Bors (far left) look on, in this tapestry created in the 1890s by the English artist Edward Burne-Jones—part of a series inspired by Sir Thomas Malory’s 1470 epic tale, Le Morte D’Arthur. The Holy Grail was the object of numerous late-medieval knightly adventure stories, beginning with the 1190 romance Perceval by the French writer Chrétien de Troyes. In many (though not all) of the original medieval romances, the Grail was considered to be the cup of the Last Supper, having been brought to Britain in antiquity by one of Jesus’ followers, Joseph of Arimathea, where it becomes the object of a quest by virtuous knights.