There is something majestic about lions and you will often see statues of them outside mansions and stately homes. In this article, we will consider some places around the world where such lions can be found.
Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square, London (England)
English painter and sculptor Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA is known for his lion sculptures. His best-known ones can be found around the base of Nelson’s Column. It was in 1858 that Landseer was commissioned to make the four bronze lions after ones in stone by Thomas Milnes were rejected. It was, however, not until 1867 that they were installed because it took until 1860 for the casts to arrive, Landseer would struggle with his health, and the relationship between Carlo Marochetti, of Kensington Studio where they were cast, proved a difficult one. It was worth the wait, though, because the lions have proved to be a splendid feature and add something special to this tourist attraction of Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Nelson is, of course, famed for his bravery and ultimate demise at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which resulted in victory over the French during the Napoleonic Wars. The 169-foot tower commemorating Nelson was completed in 1843. The lions were added later.
Lion Sculptures at The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury (England)
Greeting visitors to The Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury, there is a lion sculpture above the revolving door. Like its brother around the back, it was created by English stone carver John Nelson. It dates to 1777. The one at the front is covered in gold leaf and makes a splendid sight.
The hotel is famous for having been visited by author Charles Dickens, naturalist Charles Darwin, and famous violinist Paganini, to name a few. It is also home to an Adam Ballroom.
Las Vegas Strip (USA)
In April of 2021, the MGM Grand’s Leo the Lion statue received a clean when a team of eight workers spent between eight and ten hours each scrubbing it. This is an annual activity.
The 45-foot lions, which weigh 50-ton and sits on top of a 25-foot pedestral, replaced a fibreglass version as part of a renovation project by MGM Grand in 1990, involving millions of dollars of restoration.
This statue is to honour the lion who is seen roaring at the start of hundreds of MGM movies.
Art Institute Lions in Chicago (USA)
The Art Institute has been on Michigan Avenue since it was relocated after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. The two bronze lions here were sculptured by Edward Kemeys and unveiled in 1894. They are larger than real lions and weigh more than two tons each.
Lion Monument in Lucerne (Switzerland)
Known officially as Löwendenkmal, the Lion Monument is considered one of Lucerne’s main attractions. It was carved into the sandstone cliff in 1821 to commemorate soldiers that were killed whilst guarding the palace.
Outside Neues Museum in Berlin (Germany)
Hercules and the Nemean Lion are outside the Neues Museum in Berlin. This is situated on Museum Island. This lion is made from bronze as the ones at Trafalgar Square are. It was made by Max Kelin in 1878. It is a depiction of the power between man and beast. Hercules and the Lion are intertwined, which makes for an interesting spectacle. Hercules is, of course, a figure from Greek mythology.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Venice (Italy)
This is a statue featuring King Vittorio Emanuele II as he sits on horseback with a lion chewing chains to one side of him and a lion roaring in victory on the other.
The statue was again created in bronze, a popular material for statues it would seem. This was by Ettore Ferrari in 1887.
The first lion is symbolising Austrian oppression and the second the victory of the Venetians.
So, if you like the power that lions represent and are attracted to their majestic appeal, then you might like to explore where in the world they are represented in either bronze or stone. The above will provide you with a few ideas to get you started.