Art Nouveau St George pendant by E.Vernier. A heavy yellow gold circular pendant, intricately carved to the front with a battle scene featuring St George dressed in armour, mounting a passant horse and thrusting a spear into a dragon's mouth, with curved raised stylised borders further carved to the reverse with a foliate branch decorated with two scrolling banners engraved with 'SANCTUS GEORGIUS', translated from Latin as 'St George', fitted with an oval bale to top, approximately 3.6cm in length. Marked 18 carat gold, signed 'VE' for E.Vernier, French, circa 1890.
Saint George the patron saint of England - a figure about which remarkably little is known. Reputed to have been a Roman soldier, it is believed that on the 23rd of April 303 AD, Saint George was beheaded by the Emperor Diocletian for protesting against the persecution of Christians. He soon became venerated across Europe as a defender of the Christian faith.
Whilst it is unlikely that Saint George ever visited England, his popularity in this country can be traced back to the early-eighth century. During the Middle Ages, Saint George was upheld as an ideal of martial valour and chivalry, and consequently he was adopted by the Crusaders as a patron saint. By the end of the fourteenth century, he was officially acknowledged as Patron Saint of England and his banner (a red cross on a white background) continues to serve as our national flag.
The most famous tale involving Saint George was popularized by the Golden Legend, a thirteenth century text, which describes his legendary triumph over a plague-bearing dragon who was terrorising the inhabitants of a Libyan city. Each day the citizens would hold a lottery to decide which one of their children would be led out to the lake to be fed to the dragon in order to appease him. Eventually the lot fell to the King’s daughter, however as she was awaiting her fate Saint George journeyed past the lake and rescued her from the creature. He then slayed the dragon, and in return the King and fifteen thousand of his men converted to Christianity. George’s triumph over the dragon continues to serve as a symbol of the Order of the Garter, an English chivalric order that was founded by Edward III in 1348.