Two Months 'til LEO


Cold-Painted Spelter Recumbent Lion Sculpture (LEO Design)


The sunsign LEO begins in two months—23 July!

Spelter is an alloy, that is a blend of metals, with zinc as the main component.  Like bronze, spelter can be cast with very crisp, delicate details.  Yet it is lighter and less expensive than bronze, making it an attractive alternative for sculptures and other metal objets (especially those which are not subject to rough handling, extreme weather or heavy use).

The Viennese are well-known for their excellent cold-painted bronze and spelter sculptures.  "Cold Painting" is the process by which finished sculptures are hand-painted with an enamel paint after the metal object has been cast and prepared.  Great detail and fine paintwork is possible—though the paint is subject to chipping if roughly handled (since it is simply lying atop the sculpture, it is not "baked-in").  Besides Austria, cold-painted bronzes were made in Germany, America and Japan.  But the quality can vary tremendously.  The two tell-tale signs of great quality are the sharp details of the casting (the finer the better) and the finesse of the paintwork.  Some workshops marked their creations with a signature or shopmark.

The lion, shown above, is nicely made.  Note the crisp detail of his flowing mane and the excellence of the painting, especially around his face.  He is not marked but I suspect he is Austrian or German.  It is possible that he was part of a group of "Circus Animals" or "Zoo Animals" meant for a (lucky) early 20th Century child.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about him.


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 (

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

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