Skip to main content
Saint Margaret
Circle of the Master of Liesborn

This is one of two fragments in the National Gallery’s collection of a larger work that showed the Virgin Mary and Christ Child seated in a garden. It shows Saint Margaret, who was from the town of Antioch (in modern-day Turkey). She wears a headdress of pearls, as her name means ‘pearl’ in Greek and Latin.

According to her legend, Saint Margaret escaped from the stomach of a dragon which had swallowed her whole by making the sign of the cross. Here she is shown holding a gilded cross and using the monstrous creature – it bares its teeth at the right of the fragment – as a seat. She holds the animal by a golden chain, emphasising her victory over it. The inscription on her halo, which has been repainted, reads: ‘Sancta margarit’.

Although the panel is badly damaged, there is part of a lamb’s body behind Margaret. The lamb was the attribute of Saint Agnes; her name means ‘lamb’ in Latin.

Key facts
Artist Circle of the Master of Liesborn
Artist dates active second half of the 15th century
Full title Saint Margaret
Series Fragments from an Altarpiece of the Virgin and Saints
Date made late 15th century
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 80.7 x 47.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG2153
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Fragments from an Altarpiece of the Virgin and Saints

These two panels showing Saints Dorothy and Margaret are fragments of a larger painting which probably showed the Virgin Mary and Christ Child seated in a garden surrounded by female saints. The other saints probably included Agnes and Catherine. The panels come from a chapel in Lippstadt in the region of Westphalia in western Germany.

There are several other panels in the National Gallery’s collection painted by the same anonymous master. He has been named after the altarpiece that he painted for the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn, fragments of which are also in the Gallery’s collection.

;