In the 1911 census, when Staples was 23 and living in Kilburn, he gave his occupation as ‘artist’, to which the enumerator added ‘photographer’ (Staples’s father’s occupation) in brackets. This strange watercolour is inscribed with quotations from a fragmentary early thirteenth century Middle High German romance, Titurel, by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a prequel to his earlier work, Parzival, who was Titurel’s descendant. Von Eschenbach envisaged the Holy Grail as a stone, or mountain (seen here behind Titurel, guarding it). In his version of the legend, the young Titurel was visited by an angel who announced: ‘Hail, chosen hero of the Most High! The Lord hath called thee to guard the Holy Grail on His Mountain, Montsalvatch. Set thy house in order, and obey the voice of God.’ Titurel returned home and divided his wealth between his servants, before being led on a treacherous journey to the Holy Grail, where he built a temple for its protection. The legend of the Holy Grail has ancient roots and has had countless interpretations. It is the mother of myriad conspiracy theories.