On London's Dragons


In the heart of London, nesting amidst the sprawling urban landscape, the timeless symbol of the dragon stands as a testament to the city’s rich history. As St George’s Day approaches on the 23rd April, celebrating England’s patron saint who famously slew a dragon, it’s a fitting moment to take our readers on a tour of the dragons who have made a home in London. For the master craftsmen who generate the treasures that leave our workshop, the city’s heraldic traditions - particularly the use of dragons - act not only as a source of inspiration, but also as a significant aspect of traditional silversmithing. 

A Legacy Cast in Silver

Heraldry, the art of designing, displaying, and studying coats of arms, has been intertwined with the craft of silversmithing since the medieval era. Silversmiths, tasked with creating objects that often bear heraldic symbols, we imbue our works with the rich narratives these symbols carry. The dragon is a particularly prominent figure in heraldry, symbolising strength, protection and valour.

One of the most iconic heraldic dragons in London is the City of London Dragon, which stands guard at the boundaries of the square mile. These magnificent statues not only mark the entrance to the city, but also celebrate its independence and fortitude. The depiction of the dragon in this context, with its wings lifted and mouth open in a roar, is a powerful representation of guardianship and strength - themes our craftsmen are often asked to explore through the design of luxury silverware commissioned by our clients.

Meeting London’s Dragons

The heraldic dragon is often depicted in particular poses, each carrying its own symbolic meaning.

The ‘passant’ stance, with one foreleg raised, signifies surveillance and protection, mirroring the vigilant dragons that adorn the gates of the City of London. In contrast, the ‘rampant’ pose, where the dragon is shown standing on its hind legs, symbolises a readiness to fight, and a valiant spirit.

At Grant Macdonald London, we meticulously craft the nuances of these symbols - and other heraldic figures like them - into our bespoke pieces. Whether we’re designing a custom piece of jewellery, a silver goblet, or an intricate objet d’art, the heraldic dragon is a motif that continues to inspire and captivate. 

Celebrating St George’s Day with Heraldic Artistry

St George’s Day serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of dragons in England’s capital. It’s a day when the artistry of silversmithing and the historic symbolism of heraldry converge, celebrating not just a national legend but also the craftsmanship that keeps these legends alive.

In the creation of silver objects that celebrate London’s heritage, we are able to not only pay homage to the city’s rich history, but also continue the tradition of storytelling through craftsmanship. Each piece that’s imbued with a heraldic symbol like the passant or rampant dragon, serves as a bridge between the past and present - and that’s something that we’re very passionate about in the Grant Macdonald London workshop.


As we celebrate St George’s Day, let’s also celebrate the art and symbolism that keep the spirit of the dragon alive in London. Through the craft of silversmithing, architecture and sculpture, the legacy of dragons in heraldry continues to inspire, reminding us of the strength of the city we’re so proud to work in.

Share this post