A Pair of Lion Sculptures

A Pair of Lion Sculptures 1824 1368 Simon O'Rourke

If you had been traveling on the M6 last weekend you might have seen a strange sight. A pair of lion sculptures making their way to their home in Colchester!

Photo shows a pair of wooden lion sculptures tied to the back of a flatbed trailer.

The lion sculptures in transit

A Pair of Lion Sculptures: The Client

The lions were commissioned by  The Lion Brasserie in East Bergholt. It doesn’t take much of a jump to see why they chose to commission a big cat sculpture! The larger lion sits in front of the building, and the second, smaller lion will be installed on the wall near the doorway. He’ll replace a fibreglass lion that is currently in place.

a wooden sculpture of a lions face with a pub sign in the background that says 'The Red Lion'

Photocredit to The Lion Brasserie

About the Redwood Lion Sculpture

Simon made the pair of lion sculptures in his workshop, then later transported them to Colchester. The smaller lion is made from redwood which is a similar colour to the current fibreglass sculpture. It’s a fitting choice as the name of the pub is The Red Lion!
For this sculpture, Simon had to work within a specific framework, as the pub is a listed building, and the sculpture was going to be mounted on the wall. This meant specific pose and size requirements.
This kind of thing can be intimidating to potential clients, but don’t worry! Simon is experienced and knows the right questions to ask. He will always ensure that your sculpture meets any necessary regulations as well as aesthetic preferences.

redwood lion sculpture in a workshop

The redwood lion in Simon’s workshop

About the Oak Lion

The large oak lion stands around 2m (7′) tall. With his well-defined muscles, mane, and noble expression, he’s definitely a presence! If you follow Simon on Facebook, you will have seen he had a bit of a false start on this one. As we have mentioned in our blogs about rot and aging, wood is not an exact science. Sometimes it’s difficult to “read the log” and an old wound can lead to a pocket of rot that isn’t visible from the outside. That was the case with this lion…

an abandoned unfinished wood sculpture of a lion

The abandoned stump!

This isn’t always a bad thing though! In this case Simon wasn’t totally happy with the first lion’s pose. The rot allowed him to start over and create something he was much happier with.

a wood lion sculpture standing on a tree stump outside a red brick building

Thoughts on Carving Lions

This year Simon has actually had several lion commissions. Each one is an opportunity to build on his past experience while also creating something fresh. For readers who are curious about his process, he talks about it in this blog about creating big cats. One key point is always understanding the underlying anatomy. It might be surprising then that his biggest ‘trade secret’ is not a technical anatomy book for artists (although there are some great ones around). Rather, a great place to start your research for any artistic project is… PINTEREST!!!!
A simple search can bring up a wealth of resources and give you pictures to work from as well as directing you to blogs, videos and tutorials. Being able to save images to different boards is also a helpful way of organising research.

close up of the face of an oak lion sculpture

A Pair of Lion Sculptures: Customer Reactions

Although the second lion hasn’t been installed yet, customers have enjoyed the new addition. The oak lion has captured attention and imagination, and the owners say the reaction has been ‘amazing’. And that is the most important part!
If you happen to be in the area, we recommend checking out The Lion brasserie. The food is great, and the staff are lovely. And if you’re there, we’d love it if you tagged us in any photos of the lions, and drop us a comment to know what you think.

Your Own Lion Sculpture

If you would like your own lion sculpture, Simon would love to chat with you. You can find out more HERE about how to commission a sculpture. Simon makes it as easy as possible for you from the initial ideas through to installing the final piece. And as always, you can contact him via the form at www.treecarving.co.uk/contact/.

In conclusion, we leave you with a few thoughts from Simon on carving big cats…