Lions, Aylesbury Market Square

Nominated by: Ann Alphonse

These two lion sculptures, one awake and one sleeping, are situated in Aylesbury’s Market Square.  The lions sit in front of the Crown Court and flank a statue of Charles Compton Cavendish, 3rd Baron of Chesham, who fought in the Boer war. 

The sculptures are embossed with the name “A. DURENNE.”  Antoine Durenne (1822-97) established an iron and bronze foundry in Paris, which was active from 1847-1930.  They appear to be copies of a pair of lions sculpted by Antonio Canova in 1792 for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII in St Peter’s in Rome.

The lions were donated to Aylesbury by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild 1888, we believe to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and it is rumoured they were hauled from Waddesdon on steam wagons.  In order to decide where to place the lions, the authorities had a replica made that they moved around Market Square so they could find the best spot for them. 

I have nominated the lions not only because they are so intrinsically a part of the town centre and a local landmark for the Aylesbury community, but also because I have been a National Trust volunteer for thirteen years at Waddesdon Manor, and just like the Manor,  the lions represent evidence of the Rothschild’s contributions to the history of Buckinghamshire.

The lions in Aylesbury Market Square have been nominated by Ann Alphonse, Trustee for Bucks County Museum.