Monday, May 4, 2015
King of the beasts
The white hart in my previous post is a prelude to this animal sign, from the Golden Lion Hotel in Ipswich, another picture sent to me by my reader Bob Kindred, and received with many thanks. The lion occupies an appropriate place for the king of the beasts, as high as is feasible on a little stone plinth above cornice level. Mr Kindred reports that years ago the lion was golden in fact as well as name, but in a regilding exercise about 20 years ago some kind of gold paint was used, which has now worn away, leaving the lion looking the worse for wear. And yet, if properly regilded, he could look magnificent again, and would make a striking and eye-catching sign for the hotel whose building he surmounts.
He looks a characterful beast, and a fitting emblem for the 18th and 19th-century structure of the hotel, which also has tiny lion heads on the guttering. But I don’t know whether he’s a one-off or a mass produced lion, perhaps made in Coade Stone, the artificial stone produced in Lambeth, London, and widely used in the Georgian and Regency periods. There are many lions on buildings around the country, but I don’t recall seeing one exactly like him. I wonder if any of my other readers have seen a lion cast from the same mould?