This lioness head, with a wonderful facial expression, sold here with accompanying forepaws, was an early success for Eleanor Coade’s famous workshops on the Southbank in Georgian London. The cast is taken from a fully modelled recumbent lion and they are good examples of Mrs Coade’s nose for fashion. John Davis in “Antique Garden Ornament”, Antique Collectors Club, 1991, pp173-4, describes how she clearly had an eye for what was going to be popular:
“Apart from the fine quality and relative cheapness of Coade stone, another and important reason for the success of the [Coade] manufactory in its early years, was the close attention paid to prevalent fashion. This feature of the firm’s wares can be seen in the Egyptian lioness.
The style of these magnificent recumbent models is closely associated with the Regency period, although the lionesses are, in fact, copies of a famous pair of antique granite models which still flank the steps leading to the Capitol in Rome.”
Davis cites examples of their appearance in Regency interiors – including Thomas Hope’s house in Duchess Street in town and his country house Deepdene – and that, notably, Mrs Coade had actually started producing this model from at least 1784, somewhat ahead of the Regency fashion for all things Egyptian.
Above, Illustration of the antique granite lions in Rome on which the Coade stone version was modelled. The drawing appeared in the influential C.H. Tatham "Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Architecture" 1799-1800, by which time Coade had been casting them for 15years. Most of the Coade lions that have survived date to the Regency years by which time they were stamped “Coade & Sealy”.
These plaster casts were moulded from Coade stone originals by our resident Master Plaster Caster – Peter Hone.