Skip to main content

The Roring Lion: C.968-1928

An image of Animal figure

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


The Roring Lion


Unidentified Pottery (Probably)




Earthenware figure, moulded with modelled additions, lead glazed and painted with polychrome enamels.

Large animal figure of a lion, with left foot raised on a ball and open mouth with protruding tongue, standing on a rectangular table base. The tail tip and mane are modeled to suggest thick fur and coloured grey brown. The lion’s genitals are shown and the underbelly is left unpainted. The rest of the body is mustard yellow, with visible brush marks indicating the pelt. The tongue is red and the mouth and eyes outlined in red. The ball, or globe, is also red. The figure is fully shaped in the round and decorated all over. The base is a grass green rectangular plinth supported on a grey sponged table base which has six feet, a moulded polychrome swag frieze and on the front two raised ovals with the impressed inscription ‘THE.RORING’ and ‘LION’. The underside is recessed and glazed.


History note: Bought from Mr Wordingham, Cambridge dealer, on 3 April 1921, by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge. £15 paid for this and a companion piece ‘The Death of Munro’. Both pieces said to have come from Cromer Hall.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Depth: 10.2 cm
Height: 25.3 cm
Width: 33.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, second quarter#
Production date: circa AD 1830


Pearlware figure groups were popular from around 1810, although the earliest examples date from about 1790 They were produced by many small potteries and very few are marked. Classical or literary subjects might be copied from more expensive porcelain examples, but scenes from everyday life and topical events were also increasingly popular. Early figure groups are often complex, with modelled and moulded parts and applied decoration; the backs, though flat, are decorated. But by c.1835 three-part press-moulding had largely taken over, enabling faster and cheaper production for a growing market.

The lion is based on a pair which stand at the entrance of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, one a 2nd Century Roman lion and its companion sculpted by Flaminio Vacca in 1594. They were moved from the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome to Florence in 1789. Small scale reproductions in stone, marble, plaster and bronze were widely circulated and may have been used as a source for earthenware lions, often made in pairs to be placed at opposite ends of a dresser or bookcase.

This is one of several Staffordshire lions in the Fitzwilliam collection. The size, base, palette and style of moulding are so similar to a tiger figure in the collection, ‘The Death of Munro’ (C.967-1928), that they are probably by the same maker and perhaps companion pieces. In 1921, Dr Glaisher wrote: ‘these two pieces were in such wonderful condition that I felt obliged to buy them’. The table-base helps to fix the date. Standing on four or six short legs, table-base groups were made from c.1825-35 and have in the past been attributed to Obadaiah Sherratt, of Burslem; however they were probably made by a number of Staffordshire figure makers.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, moulded and modelled, lead glazed and painted with enamels.

Inscription or legends present

  • Type: No visible mark
  • Text: No.4099. Staffordshire lion inscribed in front ‘The Roring Lion’ b. in Cambridge [another word] 1921 (said to have come from Cromer Hall).
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.968-1928
Primary reference Number: 76468
Old object number: 4099
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Roring Lion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-15 14:53:02

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=The Roring Lion |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-15 14:53:02|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="The Roring Lion"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">The Roring Lion</figcaption>

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: GR.S.6

Animal figure

Accession Number: JL.22-1984

The Lion of St Mark

Accession Number: PD.17-1959

Hercules and the Nemean Lion

Accession Number: M.47-1997

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...