Bronze Lions - Buying Guide From Canonbury Antiques UK

Relevant categories: Bronzes



Massive range of bronze lions cats panthers and cheetahs


Before you buy a bronze lion, you should find out whether it is an original or a replica. You don’t have to be an expert in antiquities to be able to do that. That’s why we have come up with this guide to enable you to find the best bronze lions. Here are the tips:

1. Buy Directly From the Artist

Bronze Gatekeeper Lions

Buying from the source is a sure way of ensuring that you get an original item. If not, then you can buy from a trusted art gallery. There is no other way to ensure that you have an original piece of art and not a replica.

2. Test for the Statue Type

There are two types of bronze lions, a bonded or a molten statue. The latter is often the best way to cast any kind of bronze statue. To know what kind of statue you are dealing with, tap one of its hollow sections. If it makes a dull thud, then it is bonded. A molten bronze lion will produce a ringing sound.

You could also try rolling the statue (so long as it is safe to do so). A molten statue will produce a rattling sound due to the ceramics it contains. That’s true for bronze statues that have been closed by welding. Also, check that the lion statue feels colder when touched. If it does, then it is real.

3. Check the Patina

Massive bronze lions

As stated earlier, a molten bronze is often the best. You can tell that by scratching part of the patina in a hidden section. Usually, molted bronze lions produce a bright golden color when scratched. However, scratching may not be recommended. That’s why you could try checking the bottom of the statue without any kind of patina.

6. Check for Professional Appraisal

Bronze lions in the manner of Landseer

Professional artists have an interest in original items. That’s why it is easy to find items that have been appraised by these professionals and given a stamp of approval. Instead of wasting time on other items, go only for those that have been appraised.

7. Look Out For Limited Edition Items

Just like other pieces of art, bronze lions may also be released in limited editions. The purpose is to make the item seem scarce so as to increase its value. Sometimes, limited editions may come as a result of the casting moulds wearing out. Importantly, the demand and fame of an artist will determine how valuable the limited edition shall be.

8. Find Out the Artist’s Legitimacy


pair bronze recumbent lions

Before you settle on any bronze lions, it is important to establish how legitimate the artist is. For starters, find out what he has done before. It is important to know if he or she has a history working as a bronze artist. Also, get to know if the artist has previously cold anything or not.

9. Check for Rod Marks

Often, bronze pieces are welded together to make a whole. As part of the finishing, the welded marks are removed in a process known as chasing. To create good bronze lions, an artist must take time and concentrate on the work at hand. If care is not taken, the statue may still feature mechanical etchings, rod marks, and areas with smooth polish. That’s an indication of a foundry made a low-quality bronze lion.

10. Consider the Dimensions


Medici villa bronze lions

When hot cast, a bronze expands when heated and contracts when cooled. In finished form, a cooled casting is usually 2 to 3 percent smaller in size. For that reason, it is possible to know an original by comparing its finished size to the precast. Small bronze lions often indicate that you are dealing with an original.

Don’t buy bronze lions that do not tick all the right boxes. Always ensure that you end up with a piece you can be proud of. Many of these pieces can be viewed in the Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom - we also carry other bronze animals and cats, including panthers and bronze cheetahs. Welcome to the bronze jungle. 




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