Born Free Foundation Lion Sculpture

Some of you may have spotted a new lion sculpture on my social media this week. I promised to share more, so this week’s blog is about my latest Born Free Foundation Lion sculpture.

Born Free Foundation Lion Sculpture: Back to the Beginning

I made this particular sculpture to raise money for the Born Free Foundation (more about that later). My relationship with Born Free goes all the way back to 2014 when photographer Maria Slough invited me to be part of her Pawtraits project. My role then was to create a lion sculpture (The Guardian) to be photographed with Born Free Foundation founder, Virginia McKenna. Through that, I learned about the amazing work of Born Free. I was delighted when they later commissioned a sculpture for a fundraising auction.

Review of the decade: The Guardian by Simon o'Rourke
Simon O’Rourke made The Guardian as part of Maria Slough’s Pawtraits exhibition.

Born Free Foundation Lion Sculpture: The Mane Event

Born Free made 2022 its “year of the lion”. Basically, a year of action for lions in honour of the 100th birthday year of the charity‚Äôs founder Bill Travers MBE. Many of its events have had a lion theme as well as the work they have done on behalf of these incredible animals.

As part of their “Mane Event” (a ball and auction), they commissioned a lion sculpture to go in the auction. Of course, I was happy to accept!

The Born Free Foundation lion sculpture in the workshop, ready to go!

About the Born Free Foundation Lion Sculpture

I made the sculpture for auction out of Cedar of Lebanon, so he smells pretty good right now! As I said in my blog with tips for carving big cats, a great starting point for a big cat sculpture is google. And Pinterest. Lots of Pinterest! This helps me understand more about underlying anatomy and proportions. In turn, this enables me to create realistic poses with movement or tension in all the right places. This particular sculpture is in a pose reminiscent of my Sri Lankan lion and Red Lion Brasserie sculpture, but also totally unique so the winning bidder gets a truly bespoke piece of art. It reflects something of the majesty, power and strength of the lion without being ferocious.

Final Thoughts

I try to end my blogs with a testimonial from my client. Many of you will know that my wife and I run this business together. As we don’t know the new owner of this lion yet, we asked her for some thoughts instead…

Ever since we were approached by our now good friend Maria Slough 8 years ago to create the lifesize Lion for Born Free for a charity evening to help raise awareness of the charity, we have always supported Born Free as they do SUCH awesome work for protecting threatened and endangered species.

Simon and I have always always loved wildlife since we were both children. When we met, we realised it was a shared passion. We are both keen on the idea of protecting what we have in this world and are incredibly proud to be associated with the Born Free Foundation and all of the wonderful work they do. 

We hope that the charity dinner on Friday night goes supremely well and that Simon’s sculpture raises a lot of money for the charity in the auction.

This lion cub sculpture helped raise funds for Born Free Foundation