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The Lion of Knidos

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Lion of Knidos
  • Description

    Colossal marble statue of a recumbent lion; carved with inlaid eyes originally probably of glass, but now missing.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2ndC BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 2.89 metres
    • Height: 1.82 metres
  • Bibliography

    • Jenkins 2007a bibliographic details
    • Sculpture 1350 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Great Court)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    30 October 2000

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Clean, consolidate where necessary. Remove pebbles . D


    The object shows the results of several different decay mechanisms. There is an overall grey sulphation layer, except on the right side low down ; deep pitting,possibly a combination of lichen attack and salt water, particularly around the rump; lichen still in evidence, over the front left leg and over the rear left leg and foot. On the right side over the chest, stomach and face there is iron oxide staining in hoop shapes. Here, the surface of the marble is brittle and spalling in places. The pitting on the rump is more severe on the right side and to the bottom, where the tail begins and has resulted in greater loss of stone. There is evidence of lichen attack also in areas on the left, upper, thorax where the marble is quite smooth and `bleached'.

    Treatment details

    Poultices of Laponite RD (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) in deionised water, containing Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone) on areas of darker grey colour, were applied over Japanese tissue in stages. These were removed after at least 3/4 hours/overnight and the areas steam cleaned to remove the loosened dirt layer. This was carried out overall until a satisfactory level of even colour was achieved without overcleaning. This included the areas of iron staining which reduced in colour intensity with this treatment.

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Discovered by Richard Pullan during Charles Newton's excavations in 1858; removed by Robert Murdoch Smith; brought back on HMS Supply.

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Colossal marble statue of a lion.

Side: right

Colossal marble statue of a lion.

Image description



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Object reference number: GAA8156

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