St George and the Dragon
© 2007 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd. - This page may be used for non-commercial purposes ONLY!

St George and the Dragon

[ Play Narrated and Animated Movie ! ]
[ Virtual Tour ] [ Main Topics Index ]

The saint is flanked in this picture, by the figures of Fortitude, clad in a lion's skin, and Purity bearing a lily and the saint's helmet. He stands on the dead body of the dragon which he has just slain and on either side of him are two oak trees, the national tree.

St George, the patron saint of England, was a martyr of the 3rd to 4th centuries. No historical accounts of his life have survived, although he was widely venerated from an early time. The tale of his slaughtering a dragon and rescuing a maiden at Silene in Libya comes from the book called the Golden Legend, a collection of fantastical saints' lives composed in the 13th century. How he came to be patron saint of England is not clear: it may have originated in the foundation, by Edward III, of the Order of the Garter under St George's patronage.

This mosaic, like that of St David here, is by the firm of Salviati of Venice. It is from a design by Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), and was installed in 1869.

(2) St George and the Dragon

Additional Information on
St George and the Dragon

Unfortunate experiences with frescoes at the Palace of Westminster led the Fine Arts Commissioners to change their original plan, and commission mosaics for the four patron saints in the Central Lobby. Interest in mosaics in the 19th Century had been growing, fuelled by the enthusiasm of Dr Salviati, the man responsible for restoring the mosaics at St Mark's in Venice.

Dr Salviati's firm was then commissioned by the Fine Arts Commission to undertake the implementation of mosaics in Central Lobby - from the designs of Sir Edward Poynter (1836-1919). Saint George and Saint David were installed in 1869.

However, by the 1920s the decoration of the Central Lobby had fallen into abeyance, and Dr Salviati had died. So the commission for the remaining two Patron Saints was awarded to Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933), who was also responsible for two large mosaics in St Stephen's Hall. Bell worked on the spot, rather than in the studio, and the mosaics of Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick were finally unveiled in 1923. Advanced Category Search

Keyword Categories: