Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sculpture of the Day: The Stevens Lion, 1852

Bronze lion after Stevens, 1852
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This bronze figure of a seated lion is copied from a model made by British sculptor Alfred George Stevens (1817-1875) around 1852 for the seated lions he cast for the tops of the newel posts outside of London's British Museum.

According to one critic of the day, “the number of imitations of this lion by other artists is their sincerest tribute; and technically it is equally a triumph for Stevens in the small number (20) of pieces which are necessary in the mould for casting it.”

The lions are no longer in position outside the British Museum. Some were removed in 1896 to railings outside the Charles Holden wing of the Law Society building in Chancery Lane. Others were placed on the railings which surround the Wellington monument in St Paul's Cathedral, London. This transfer took place between 1892 and 1912, when the tomb was removed from the Consistory Chapel in St Paul's.

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