Disgruntled Lions

The lion is one of those beasts that does an excellent job of brightening up a gatepost.

I don’t know if it’s a peculiarly Scottish or British thing, but certainly in my neck of the woods it’s reasonably common to find gateposts sporting lions on their summits.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. These lions sit atop a couple of gateposts in the village of Bankfoot in Perthshire. This was how they looked just before Christmas, with a bit of festive decoration:

Festive Lions at Bankfoot

The other day, delightful assistant no.1 and I went for a walk past these same lions. The decoration had changed from Christmas wreaths on the posts to hats of snow on the lions:

Snow-capped lionsLion with snow hat

A variety of poses and expressions can be seen in gatepost lions, and these particular ones seem to me to be unusually fierce.

It is perhaps a little uncharitable of me, but ever since seeing them with snow on I can’t stop thinking of them as ‘the disgruntled lions’. I think the expression popped into my head when I saw this one with his snow mohican:

Snow mohican

His teeth looked especially menacing, with an icicle having formed between his jaws:

Teeth of ice


22 thoughts on “Disgruntled Lions

  1. Nice perceptive analysis Lorna. There are many symbolic meanings for a lion in every culture. The most common one being a show of pride and majestic power. I have seen many homes in the US with sculptures of lions in their front yards.

    • Thanks Aparna, I think power is certainly something one associates with lions. It’s strange though, isn’t it, that they should end up on so many gateposts. Perhaps if you have a lion on your gatepost you feel protected in some way, I think I would. I’m very interested to hear that it’s common in the US as well.

  2. We have a bridge here in Vancouver callled “The Lionsgate Bridge” with 2 lions guarding the entrance. I love your photos. I am sure the lions are in a much better mood when they are not covered in snow and ice!

  3. Surely in your part of the world they should be wildcats… or are they just to small to be gate guards? A pity, because they’re just as ferocious as their African cousins and desparately in need of some good PR.

    • That’s an idea, wild cats. They are notoriously shy though, unless cornered in which case they’re very ferocious, as you say. They do need a bit of PR, right enough. I think people mistake them for strays sometimes, and because they look wild and dangerous they can be unfairly ostracised.

  4. Hi Lorna, those lions do look particularly festive with those wreaths prior to Christmas. Funny little detail with the iciclesbetween the teeth too. We really are at polar opposite in both geography and weather, from one extreme season to another 🙂

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