Flaxman's original life-size marble of St Michael slaying Satan was commissioned in 1819 by the 3rd Earl of Egremont for the North Gallery at Petworth House. The plaster model was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1822 (no. 985) and the marble completed in 1824. Contemporary and near-contemporary discussions of Flaxman's work frequently singled out the St Michael as being one of the sculptor's outstanding achievements. Testament to its continuing popularity was the group's selection, modelled as a reduced version by Wyon, by the Art Union of London in 1843 as the first sculpture issued to their subscribers.