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The Medici Lions

Antique Roman or Greek sculptor
2nd century AD (copy of c. 1818)

Bath /  The Medici Lions

Description

Two lions of artifical stone, originally bronzed, with one or their forepaws on a gilt sphere, modelled after the Medici Lions, a pair of marble sculptures of lions, one of which is Roman, dating to the 2nd century AD, and the other a 16th-century pendant. They are placed on the gates at the southeastern end of Royal Avenue. A lion is featured on the City of Bath Coat of Arms, which represents the crowning of King Edgar, the first king of all England, in Bath in 973.

Bath - The Medici Lions Bath - The Medici Lions

Wikipedia writes about these lions:

Renovated in 2007 to include the ball under the paw. Produced around 1818, they were commissioned by Charles Geary Esq, for inclusion in the new Masonic Hall in York Street, Bath, which was opened on 23 September 1819 with great ceremony (...) The elaborate building immediately ran into financial trouble and soon closed. In 1842, Geary, having secured the debts and in order to pay them off, sold the hall to the Society of Friends, in whose care it remains, and the elaborate contents (known as ‘The Bath Furniture’) to Loyal Lodge No 251, Barnstable, Devon, where they also remain to this day. The lions, however, did not make the trip, legend suggesting there was no cart available to transport them. They were, therefore, presented to the city and The Historic Guide to Bath 1864 later records 'At the side entrances, over the Queen's Gate, leading to the Royal Avenue are Bronzed Lions, presented by Mr. Geary.'
This does not agree with the information from the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of 1831:
Royal Victoria Park. - Mr. Geary of this city has presented the Park a noble pair of bronzed Lions, which have long been considered of first rate design and execution, preserving the look, figure, and fire of that noble animal with extraordinary spirit, and with the most faithful transcript of nature. Their attitude is what is called in heraldry, Regardant, and one of the fore feet in each grasps an orb or ball. They are placed on what is now called the Rivers Gate, (between the two great entrances the Queen's Gate and Victoria Gate) and the effect is allowed to be magnificent. The warmest thanks of the citizens are due to Mr. Geary for this splendid present.

Inscription(s)

On the base:
presented by c. geary, esq.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location (N 51°23'3" - W 2°21'52")

Item Code: gbsw087; Photograph: 22 March 2019
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