We have 3 different representations of St George and the Dragon in our Pocket Square Collection.
The paintings are all inspired by the myth of Saint George, who would have lived in modern day Libya in the third century. According to the myth, the region was terrorised by a dragon, which lived in a nearby lake and poisoned the water. The King, in order to prevent the dragon from killing his people, offered him sacrifices of sheep, as well as some of his own people, who were chosen at random by a lottery.
While this kept the dragon happy, the citizens were always worried that they would be chosen next to be sacrificed to the dragon. One fateful day, according to the legend, the King’s own daughter was chosen to be offered to the dragon. The people, who had seen many of their family and friends sacrificed, refused the offer of gold and silver from the King, in return for another citizen to take her place. The princess was therefore sent to the dragon, dressed as a bride and wearing her royal crown.
On her way to the lake, she met St George on his horse, who at once told her he would kill the dragon and save her life. The princess refused, but the gallant St George attacked the dragon, slaying him, and saving the princess’ life.
"I love these three designs as pocket squares. The varying depictions of the legend through 3 different centuries is fascinating, and even through the central story is the same, there are different elements highlighted in each artist's work. My favourite one would have to be the Rubens, the colours are just fantastic, and give a range of options in terms of outfit combinations."
Elliott Rampley, Co-Founder
The oldest of the 3 variations, and painted in the 1550s, Tintoretto's version of the legend chooses to focus on the princess as she flees from the dragon being slayed by St George. While the princess runs from the scene, we can see in the dramatic cloudscape God the Father who looks down to help St George defeat the dragon. The motion and energy of the scene is visible in the swirling clothing, as the princess runs towards the onlooker and the horse charging towards the dragon.
The work was originally intended for an altarpiece, but was perhaps only used in a private family chapel. It can now be found in the National Gallery in London, where it has been since 1831.
Through the use of contrasts, Rubens effectively portrays the overall good versus evil theme of the legend of St George. The saint is shown as being physically above the dragon, good overcoming evil, and this is further compounded by the contrast in light, with the dragon painted in the relative darkness, and St George and the princess in light. The princess in this rendition is the personification of the Catholic Church, with the lamb she holds representing the innocence and purity of the church.
It was unusual for the time to show a horse frothing at the mouth, as another way to show the passion with which St George fights the dragon. Having taken inspiration from Virgil's Aeneid and Pliny the Elder's works where passion and effort is conveyed by foaming horses, this soon became commonplace among artists who followed in Rubens' footsteps.
It is widely believed that the painting was originally intended for a church dedicated to St George, however Rubens kept the artwork until his death in 1640. After his death, Felipe IV of Spain bought the piece, and it is still held in Spain, at the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
Moreau painted St George on his white horse, charging the dragon with a lance. St George is dominating the composition, and his horse is at the centre of the piece. They are the main source of brightness in the painting, the dragon and the mountains around being quite muted. St George, painted in the brightness with a red cape that looks like an angel’s wing, is triumphing over the evil, represented by the darkness.
Unlike in the painting of Jacopo Tintoretto, the princess is represented in the background, praying, the the castle in the far background. Moreau made her seem almost peaceful, accepting of her fate.
Complete the look
What Makes Our Pocket Squares Special?
1. We believe that 40cm is the minimum size for a high quality pocket square. Any smaller and it will slide down inside your pocket with any movement of your jacket, while it limits the number of folds you can achieve as there is not enough volume to hold it in place. It goes without saying we would never advocate any form of pocket square holder. All our pocket squares are either 42cm x 42cm or 40cm x 40cm.
2. We use the finest mulberry silk with our silk and wool/silk pocket squares. The quality of the fabric can be seen in the texture and the level of detail and vibrancy of the finished product. All our pocket squares are printed in Macclesfield, England, an area renowned for silk printing for the past 200 years.
3. We take the utmost care in printing our pocket squares, which results in truly remarkable levels of detail. Faces, objects and colours are sharp and well defined to give a truly stunning finish. We also take exceptional care with the colour bleed, so the print is almost as crisp on the back as it is on the front, allowing for an unlimited number of folds.
4. The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each square its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.