Pen & Ink on Bristol Board
353 mm x 515 mm
“Advance our standards, set upon our foes Our ancient world of courage fair St. George Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons”
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Richard III, act V, sc. 3
‘Cry God for Harry, England and St. George!’
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Henry V, act III, sc. 1
Many countries have a patron saint who may be called upon in times of great need and conflict. England’s patron saint is St George who in legend slew a mighty dragon. In an English variant of the tale, St. George killed the dragon on Dragon Hill in Uffington, Berkshire, and where the dragon’s blood fell no grass will grow, leaving chalky white scars in the English hillside.
This work embraces the St George legend incorporating many elements in the composition:
St George Characteristics – The martial prowess of the St George is evident as the Valiant knight battles an overwhelming opponent with resolute faith in his cause and a victorious outcome.
The Dragon – In the tales of St George many see the dragon as the embodiment of the devil and all the evils in the world. The dragon is an almost insurmountable opponent, an opponent that takes the purest of hearts and stoutest wills to challenge and overcome.
The Cave – The cave is the dwelling place of the dragon full of darkness and foreboding, threatening to swallow those who approach it.
The White Horse – This gallant steed is a symbol of purity and bold bravery, battling courageously with his rider atop the hill for all to see.
English Cross Pennant – The red cross of saint George is the symbol of the brave and devout, it is also the instantly recognisable emblem of the English flag.
Three Lions Rampant– The lions, carved into the wall, frame the scene unfolding below. The three lions have been an emblem of English royalty for hundreds of years. The proud rampant lions personify England and the country's leonine courage.
The English Rose – St George carried the rose emblem on his steed. The rose can also be seen in the backdrop, growing throughout the English countryside.