Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sculpture of the Day: A Lion After Landseer, 1874

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Among the most famous public sculptures in Britain are the lions at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square which were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer. Those celebrated lions have inspired multiple works of art including this handsome paperweight of blue pressed glass.

The lion was created through a new technique of press-molding glass with the aid of a hand-operated machine. This technique—developed originally in the U.S. in the 1820s--made the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century the beginning of true mass production of pressed glass in the U.K..

This beautiful piece heralds from John Derbyshire's Regent Flint Glass Works at Salford, Manchester. The concern was not long-lived, however, during its few years of production it manufactured some of the most sought-after paperweights in Britain. The best known of the collection is this lion. Others which were inspired by Landseer also proved to be big sellers. These included based on the master’s paintings of a greyhound and a collie.

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