England never celebrates St George’s day. Well, not really anyway, as the deafening silence which greeted Boris Johnson’s attempt to drum up enthusiasm for the saint “who had been ignored for too long” showed last year. Despite his “St George’s week” efforts, Londoners barely noticed the 23rd April, except to wonder why their local pubs were full of complimentary red and white party hats.
It is strange that while the rest of Britain is quite happy to have a Saint’s day, the English are squeamish about it. Scotland celebrates Andrew, Wales' David and Ireland (and much of England, USA and the rest of the world) celebrates Patrick, but George has been rather left out in the cold. This could be down to England’s largely secular population, a sign of self deprecatory modesty or simply apathy, but it would be unusual in many other countries for a National Day to go unmarked.
So in an effort to remind people that St George has been around for a very long time (since 303AD, actually) and in preparation for the 23rd tomorrow, we've put together a gallery of some of the most iconic artistic representations of England's patron, dating right back to 1470. While the list is by no means exhaustive, it contains some of the best and most interesting works, and should provide a bit of insight into ideas of a legendary man thought to have slain a dragon.
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