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Online exhibitions

It is important for the collection to be made available through its physical presence in museums and galleries around Britain, but it is equally important to promote remote access to the collection.

One of the ways in which we will seek to achieve this is through a series of online exhibitions focusing on particular themes or groups of items in the collection.

St George and the dragon

St George slaying the dragon is part of the mythology of Britain and of several other European countries. Paintings and sculptures of the heroic act, representing the triumph of good over evil, are to be found from medieval times but in 1817 a design was prepared for the British coinage that has become the classic depiction of St George and the dragon.

The design was the work of the Italian gem engraver Benedetto Pistrucci and, as one of the first coins he designed, it stands as a testimony to his skill and flair as an artist. It first appeared on gold sovereigns of George III and its extensive use on British gold coins has established it as one of the most potent symbols of Britain.  

This online exhibition reveals how Pistrucci’s St George originated and shows some of the other outstanding works of art for which he was responsible. Over the years many other artists have been attracted to the story of St George and shown here are coins and medals which reveal how others have chosen to tackle the theme.