Witley, April 23, 1917

Monday         Morning broke dull [.] [D]uring the day became much warmer ended splendidly.  Did a few repairs am feeling great

Saint George's cross.JPG
April 23 is Saint George’s Day.

Reportedly a Roman soldier who was martyred for refusing to deny his Christian faith when the emperor Diocletian ordered that no Christians should serve in his armies, St. George became the patron saint of England when Edward III decided that the saint represented qualities Edward valued, and that and his simple red cross on a white background made an excellent flag. (1) Saint George is most remembered for something that didn’t happen: his slaying of a dragon to rescue a princess who had been intended for the dragon’s dinner.

Burne Jones St George Art Gallery of NSWCuriously, there is an association between St. George and Witley. The Victorian watercolourist Myles Birket Foster bought a house in the area, and commissioned for its decoration a series of paintings by Edward Burne Jones illustrating the dragon story.  (2) This painting from that series is now in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. More about the series can be read in a book by Stephen Wildman et al, Edward Burne Jones, Victorian Artist-dreamer (1998), 101-106.

(1) Mortimer, Ian. “Why is St. George our patron saint?
(2) Kestner, Joseph A. “The Return of St. George, 1850-1915.”  In King Arthur’s Modern Return, ed. Debra N. Mancoff. New York, 1998. 88

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”


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