A Parade of LEOs - VII


Cast Iron Golden-Wash Bookends with "Mirrored Barye" Walking Lions (LEO Design)


We celebrate the first few days of LEO with a "parade" of leonine beauties—now in-stock at LEO Design.  

Many artists develop a theme to their work, sometimes spending their entire careers focused on a very narrow field of subject matter.  One such artist was the Parisian animalier Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875).  An animalier is an artist who creates animal sculptures.  Barye is one of the greatest.

He started his "working life" as a goldsmith apprentice, under his father.  He later worked in the studio of Napoleon's goldsmith.  But animals—sculpting animals—was his true artistic love.  Barye would spend hours at the zoo sketching wild animals in their natural "attitudes."  Eugène Delacroix (1798-1875) was Barye's artistic contemporary and his naturalistic sketches of wild animals inspired Barye to capture the energy and personality in his renderings of his subjects.  Barye would then return to his studio and sculpt models based on these drawings—which might later be cast in bronze.  Barye sculpted individual animals as well as groups of animals, sometimes engaged in energetic, life-or-death confrontations. Occasionally, Barye included "human animals" in his compositions—including in historical or mythological themes.

The bas relief "Walking Lion" portrayed on this pair of handsome Bradley & Hubbard bookends is modeled after Antoine-Louis Barye's 1840 sculpture of a stately feline.  Interestingly, the pair of bookends boast a pair of "mirrored" lions—that is, a pair of lions who face in opposite directions.   Mirroring a pair of items (in this case, bookends) is a more labor intensive and expensive method of manufacture.  Not only must the foundry have two different working moulds, but the pieces require a greater degree of husbandry as they work their way through the casting, finishing, packing and shipping process.  95% of mass-produced bookends never attempt to provide mirrored pairs; they simply ship two of the same exact bookend to make-up the pair.  Thus, the extra effort required to mirror these lions make this pair of bookends a bit more special.  Plus, they can be placed on the bookshelf (or desk) with both felines facing-out, in the same direction.  That cannot be done with the standard variety of bookends.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.

More handsome LEOs tomorrow.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248