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Lion (facing left): C.182A-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Lion (facing left)


Pottery: Pill Pottery
Potter: Davies, H. (Probably)




Earthenware figure, moulded, modelled additions and lead glazed.

Red earthenware lion lying with left front paw raised on a ball, head turned to the left and tail curled over the left rear foot. The cheeks are incised to suggest whiskers and the mane is thickly modelled. The lion rests on a flat rectangular base which has rounded corners. The front of the base is incised ‘H. D [indecipherable]. The underside is open, mainly unglazed.


History note: Bought at Sotheby’s on 12 June 1906, lot 177, for 10/- (ten shillings) with its pair, by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 16 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Newport (Monmouths.) ⪼ Monmouthshire ⪼ Wales

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


19th Century, Mid#
Circa 1850 CE - 1860 CE


Pill Pottery, thought by Dr Glaisher to have been near Bristol, is now known to have been in South Wales, at Pillgwenlly, Newport. The factory, which appears in Kelly’s Directory of 1801, mainly made bricks and tiles.There were several later Newport potteries. Examples of figures are rare and seem mainly to have been made in glazed red earthenware, like these. Pill Pottery lion pairs occasionally appear at auction and a group of Samson slaying the lion is held by the V&A (C.216-1922).

The signature on this lion is probably that of Hambury or Humbury Davies, first recorded at the Pill Pottery in 1848, and in 1852 having a second pottery in Commercial Road. By 1865 these had passed into the possession of Evan Davies.

This is one of a pair of lions, perhaps made to sit at either end of a mantelpiece or dresser. As each has a paw raised on a ball, they are probably based on a pair which were moved from the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome to public display at the entrance of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, in 1789. Small scale reproductions of the Medici lions in stone, marble, plaster and bronze were widely circulated, and the potters may have used these as models, rather than engravings of the originals. Pottery lions were popular in the early 19th century, although more often produced in white earthenware and decorated with coloured glazes or enamels; there are several in the Fitzwilliam collection.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lead-glaze
Base Depth 9.6 cm Width 18.5 cm

Materials used in production

Red earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Red earthenware, moulded and modelled, lead glazed

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: H. D [unclear]
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: No. 2422. Lion of red glazed pottery (one of a pair) marked H. Davies Pill Pottery b. at Sotheby’s June 12, 1906, lot 177.
  • Location: Inside base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.182A-1928
Primary reference Number: 72722
Old object number: 2422
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Lion (facing left)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-21 23:56:49

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