Fri 17th May 2013
Medici Lions return to Stowe
Nobody who has visited Stowe over the last four years could fail to be impressed by the extent of restoration around the estate, both in the Gardens and the House. Stowe House Preservation Trust (SHPT), who raise money to restore Stowe House, is delighted to announce that it is putting the finishing touches to a 6 month project of restoring the balustrades on the stunning South Front of the mansion.
Anna McEvoy, from SHPT, is excited about the most recent development: ‘The original 18th-century lead Medici lions were sold in 1921 to a benefactor who gave them to Blackpool Council and they have resided there, in Stanley Park, ever since. They will soon be returned to their original position on the plinths at the bottom of the grand steps of the House looking towards the Corinthian Arch. We are delighted to see their return, courtesy of Blackpool Council, who will receive copies of the lions from us. The current 1920s art-deco style lions by John Bickerdyke will be moved to plinths outside the 1927 Stowe School chapel.’
The large lead lions were craned back onto their original plinths in april, returning them to their home after over ninety years, and they will be unveiled by royal appointment at the end of May.
The balustrade was added in 1790 by the Marquess of Buckingham to enclose two garden parterres either side of the South Front steps. Over the last 100 years, the stone bases of the balustrade had become very badly weather-corroded and had become unstable and in need of a full-scale repair. Each pier was originally adorned with a spun copper urn, sold off in the 1921 estate auction. Historical accounts mention how they held lit oil lamps on special occasions. Copies of original urns have also been return to the piers as part of the project.
The South Front of Stowe House is considered one of the most magnificent in the country and we are proud to be part of restoring it and its environs to its former glory.