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22 November 2018

Fine British and European Sculpture

Lot 1

A sculpted Istrian limestone heraldic lion

Estimate £8000 - £12000 + fees

Sold Price £7800

A sculpted Istrian limestone heraldic lion, probably Veneto or Dalmatian coast, 13th century, portrayed as salient on its haunches, the slightly upturned head with jaws agape, above a mane of stylised tresses of curled fur, the forepaws resting on the upper edge of a shield, the pointed base of which resting beneath the beasts hind legs, on an integrally carved rectangular section base

84cm high, 26cm wide, 32cm deep



The stone lion in the present lot bears some distinctive similarities to other 13th century northern Italian examples, particularly with a pair flanking the entranceway to the Duomo at Parma, Emilia Romagna. This pair, sculpted by Giambono da Bissono in 1281 serve as column bases and as such are recumbent, but they sport the same curled 'locks' of fur in their manes, beneath highly comparable foreshortened heads with snub noses above jaws slightly open. Also instantly noticeable is the very flattened treatment of the rear haunches, almost as though any detailing beneath or behind the head and mane of the beast was an irrelevance

Another pair of 13th century examples at Trogir in Croatia demonstrate corresponding characteristics to the heads and manes, with the same very distinguishing blunt faces and curled locks of fur; whilst other examples, at Bologna's Duomo, Modena's Duomo, and at the Chiesa di San Polo in Venice show these same noteworthy attributes


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