An Early 19thC Folk Art Painted Terracotta Model of a Lion c.1810

Origin: Unknown
Period: Early 19thC
Provenance: The Sir Michael Codron Collection of Lions
Date: c.1800-25
Width: 5”
Height: 6”
Depth: 2”

In original condition, the naively stylised hand painted terracotta lion, being free standing and with kindly facial features to a flowing stylised mane, the whole surviving from the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The condition is slightly tired which is part of its appeal with chipping to the paintwork as photographed, and a chipped front paw, though importantly there is no restoration or any re-painting having been administered. He appears to be unmarked.

Lions have been a common theme in art for centuries, representing strength and (especially in Britain) a regal or majestic animal. Their exoticism and yet feline familiarity made them popular with the British public, leading to their production by 19th century potters and carvers.
A terracotta piece of this type is almost impossible to attribute with any certainty though in terms of country of origin, through its style it could well still be English but also possibly of French or Italian origins. It has some similarity in its naïve style to Prattware pottery.

Sir Michael Codron was the man credited with bringing Harold Pinter to the public’s attention with his 1958 production of The Birthday Party. Sir Michael started his career in the London theatre in 1956 and has gone on to produce over 200 West End shows by playwrights including Tom Stoppard, David Hare, Alan Ayckbourn and Victoria Wood. In 2010 he received a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement, including his discovery of Harold Pinter, and was knighted in 2014 for services to British theatre.

A more charming and more benevolent lion one could not wish to find.