Item is one of the two original, Frederic Bartholdi Morand Lion Head Sculptures In Iron. The “Morand Lions” are architectural artifacts from the Point Morand Bridge that transversed the Rhône river in Lyon, France. The bridge stood from 1890 to 1944.They were designed by Frederic Bartholdi, the creator and sculptor of the Statute of Liberty. Only a few pieces by this famous artist exist in private hands. As his entire body of work was comprised primarily of large public sculptures. In 1890, the City of Lyon commissioned the creation of a new iron bridge to replace an existing wooden structure on the river. The first bridge in this location was built in 1772 and was destroyed and replaced several times. It was on this new structure in 1890 that the lion heads were affixed as architectural design elements and remained there until a fateful day in 1944.
On January 9, 1944, the German Army bombed the central span of the bridge and the subject artifacts were cast into the river with the iron spans that they were attached to. In 1947, following the end of the World War II, the river was dredged and the lion artifacts were removed by a noted French antique dealer. He placed them in a warehouse for the next fifty years and his son, also a noted antique dealer with a facility in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, offered them for sale to the previous owner on the fiftieth anniversary of their retrieval.
The lion heads were air-shipped to California and underwent an extensive multi-year restoration process.Rust and corrosion from the period when they were submerged in water were carefully removed and the entire surface area of both pieces were treated with a special process involving heated copper and zinc to encapsulate the pieces from future corrosion. The pieces were then coated and covered in 23.7K gold leaf
by hand over a two-year period. The gold leaf covers all surface areas, including the interior surfaces of both lions. Custom brass sleeves were machined to cover the two attachment bolts and a hole was drilled
in the mouth of each piece.
We acquired one from the collector and now have this piece for sale.We prefer local pickup as shipping is very expensive.And during its shipment to us some of the gilt was scratched.
This historical piece would make a great fountain head or an opulent display piece.
Frederic Bartholdi Morand Lion head statue of liberty scupltor iron decor fountain head Point Bridge
Available for in store pickup Only
- Circa 1890
- The Pont Morand Lion Head Sculpture
- Lion head sculpture designs in iron
- Final treatment gilded in 23.7 karat gold leaf
- Approximately 24” x 24”
- Lion weighs approx. 200 pounds
Overall condition is good