Monday, 13 August 2012

Boris the Lion

Meet Boris the Lion!! Boris was part of the Pride In Our City Lions Of Bath 2010, designed by artist Kevin Whitney who was the first ever Official Olympic Artist in 1982 and signed by Boris Johnson, Amy Williams and Jason Gardiner.  Boris was designed to celebrate the Olympic Games coming to London and currently takes pride of place in our Bath store on Walcot Street.

The Lions of Bath 2010 pride of lions raised over £65,000 for local charities when they were sold at auction.  The 104 Lions were placed across Baths city center between May and September and using the Lions of Bath Safari maps you could explore the city whilst tracking down the pride.     

Part of the Pride on show before being auctioned

The Lions were designed by the sculpter of the 2008 King Bladud pigs of Bath (the same thing but with pigs instead of Lions, the pigs raised £200,000 for Baths Two Tunnels Project), Alan Dun.  He was given the brief to design a lion that was niether to civic nor to Lion King :)

Making the Lions is actually quite a long process, to begin with Alan made a small scale clay model to be approved, once that was done he had to build a steel frame, then cover it with mesh and clay to build up to a full scale version of the first model.
Alan modelling the clay lion

Next a plaster mould is made of the clay lion, from which he made a fiberglass lion known as the 'pattern'.  The pattern was then taken to a fiberglass factory near Salisbury who made a heavy duty mould from the 'pattern' lion then the Lion Pride was born.  It took a full day to create each Lion from the mould and then another day to finish, sand and polish it, that's a total of 208 days to fully create the pride and that's before they were decorated by the artists.

So why did they choose lions? The Lion has been a symbol used in Royal England for hundreds of years and there are over 500 images of lions around Bath, 2 bronze sculptures guard the entrance to the Royal Victoria Park and the Coeur de Lion (the smallest pub in Bath) has Richard the Lionheart riding into battle with 3 lions on his shield (not quite the same ring as three lion on a shirt) on it's sign.  So I suppose why not lions.

We are very glad they chose Lions, Boris has found a very loving home at Mastershoe Bath and spends his days being admired by young and old alike.  Why not pop in and see him and perhaps peruse the shelves whilst you are there, the Bath branch stocks a variety of shoes from Camper and Dr Martens to Hunter and FitFlop, and loads in between.