medici lions

Stowe House - 18th century Lion sculptures

The Stowe Lions sit outside the main entrance to Stowe House, near Buckingham, and are based on the ‘Medici Lions’ the first of which was created after an antique Roman marble relief. This was worked up as a full figure looking to its right, by Giovanni di Scherano Fancelli (c.1598), and accompanied by a mirror-image version by the sculptor Flaminio Vacca.

The pair were commissioned by Ferdinando I de’Medici and were originally set in the Loggia dei Leoni at the Villa Medici, Rome, where they remained until 1789. The date of purchase of the lead sculptures by Stowe House’s owner Richard Temple‐Grenville (who owned Stowe in 1749‐79) is unknown; indeed the attribution of these tooled casts as by John Cheere was only made when conservator Rupert Harris visited them at Stanley Park Blackpool and found evidence of surface tooling characteristic of Cheere’s workshop. More…