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  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    Benedetto Pistrucci’s St George
    and the dragon was created for the gold sovereign of 1817, deliberately intended to make the coin as distinctive as possible. 


    Sovereign of 1817 showing Pistrucci’s original design with
    St George holding a broken lance.

  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    The design was amended and improved for silver crown pieces released the following year, and won instant praise as a masterpiece of numismatic art. It is this St George that has become a defining design on the British coinage for almost 200 years.

  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    Pattern five-pound piece of 1820. The style in which Pistrucci worked was rooted in the classical tradition and owed much to Greek sculpture, most famously expressed in the Parthenon Sculptures.

  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    St George appears as a small but significant detail at the centre of Thomas Simon’s design for the remarkable Petition Crown of 1663.

  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    St George made his first appearance on English coins on George nobles issued during the reign of Henry VIII.

  • Benedetto Pistrucci’s
    St George and the dragon 

    While Pistrucci’s design is rightly considered a departure for the British coinage, St George had appeared on silver half-crowns only a year earlier as a small device hanging from the bottom of the Garter belt.

  • William Wyon
    and St George 

    During the first half of the 19th century the Royal Mint was blessed with the prodigious talents not just of Pistrucci but also of his colleague and rival William Wyon. In a short but brilliant career Wyon was responsible for an accomplished array of coins and medals.


    Portrait of William Wyon in plaster by Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich, 1851.

  • William Wyon
    and St George 

    If Pistrucci’s best known coinage design was his St George, for Wyon it was his Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria.

  • William Wyon
    and St George 

    His interpretation of St George was commissioned by Prince Albert for a medal and its movement and vitality reveal an artist of exceptional ability.

  • St George by
    Percy Metcalfe  

    St George slaying the dragon has had a life on the coinage beyond the direct influence of Pistrucci. The Italian artist may have cast a long shadow but this did not prevent Percy Metcalfe from creating a St George that unmistakably belongs to the 20th century.


    Struck to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V, the crown piece of 1935 provided Metcalfe with a handsome canvas on which to display his stylised St George dressed in full armour.

  • St George by
    Percy Metcalfe  

    Portrait punch of Metcalfe’s St George which has a remarkable resemblance to the artist himself.

  • St George by
    Percy Metcalfe  

    The Silver Jubilee crown of 1935 was struck primarily in silver but a very small number were produced in gold.

  • St George by
    Percy Metcalfe  

    The George Cross is the highest civilian gallantry award and has at its centre Pistrucci’s St George as adapted by Percy Metcalfe.

  • St George by
    Percy Metcalfe  

    Metcalfe also designed the Irish Free State coinage of the 1920s which is widely regarded as the ground-breaking coinage of the 20th century.

  • The legacy of St George

    As the patron saint of England, St George has appeared on coins and official medals, as well as on banknotes and other symbols of the State.

    He is also an important figure for a number of European countries. Long before Pistrucci had the idea to use St George on the British coinage, the saint had appeared on Italian and German coins. St George is also found depicted in paintings, and as the subject of iconography throughout the Mediterranean.


    Coins of the German States from the 1670s and from Italian States in the 18th century showed representations of St George and the dragon.

  • The legacy of St George

    The sculptor and engraver Cecil Thomas prepared this exquisite punch of St George.

  • The legacy of St George

    Christopher Ironside’s early designs for Britain’s decimal coins featured St George on the 10p piece.

  • The legacy of St George

    The heraldic artist George Kruger Gray prepared a St George in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee crown, which narrowly lost out to Percy Metcalfe’s version.

  • The legacy of St George

    Such is the appeal of Pistrucci’s St George and the dragon that an unknown artist skilfully reproduced it on the side of a shell.

  • The legacy of St George

    St George and the dragon symbolising the triumph of good over evil.


    Mosaic by Boris Anrep in the Threadneedle Street entrance of the Bank of England, based on the design for the sovereign by Benedetto Pistrucci.