Pair of bronze lion and irons after Alfred Stevens

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A wonderful pair of bronze and irons or fire dogs modelled as lions after the design by Alfred Stevens (1817-75); the lions standing on an integral plinth base. Possibly cast by D. Brucciani and Co.

Alfred Stevens was one of the finest British sculptors of the mid Nineteenth Century. Stevens was heavily influenced by the sculpture of the Italian Renaissance especially the work of Michelangelo which he studied at first hand while living in Italy from 1833-42. Stevens is considered to be one of the fathers of the New Sculpture Movement which heralded the rebirth of British sculpture at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Stevens originally modelled a lion in cast iron to ornament the railings outside the British Museum in 1852. The dignified, regal pose of the lion is thought to have been inspired by a cat belonging to one of his close friends.

In 1895 the railings outside the British Museum were dismantled and the lions dispersed. Twelve of the original lion now stand guard around the monument to the Duke of Wellington in St. Paul's Cathedral which Stevens designed in 1856. From 1896 D. Brucciani and Co of Covent Garden had the right to cast copies of the lions in bronze and they were also cast in pottery by Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Co.

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