• Winged lion finished

    The modelling of this is pretty much finished, at least what would be visible in photos like this. That

    leaves the surface cleanup and refining the small details as to what is left to do.

    I may still add the lettering the originals had, i.e “MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK 1914” to the face of the shield, but this would have to be done with incized lettering rather than raised as the originals had.

    I believe the original master models’ lettering may have been metal, wax or wood founders’ letters applied onto the surface of the clay, and while the model was still damp they made the mold of him.

  • new photo

    After a few changes and tweeks to the face I’m a lot happier with it, I also started the wings.

    I hope to have this substantially finished this weekend for the majority of the add-on and subtractive work, leaving the finishing detailing and surface detailing as the bulk of what is left to do.

    This tops out right about 825 pounds and the photo just doesn’t give the sense of just how big this is.

  • Scale photo

    This shows the scale of the model, I did quite a bit more work on this today, and also pressed out the shield which is laying on my work bench now uncovered to firm up a bit before I mess with it further.

    And adding 2 more pics tonight, with the shield now in place and the forearms and paws started.

  • Sullivan lion continued

    I left the model most of the week to get firmer so it won’t need as much if any external support soon, it is much more stable tonight so I added more clay to the head and neck, now the nose and the top-knot are very close to where they should be, that leaves the rest of the head to model according to the position of those.

    The chest top is where that should be, and the top of the shield will extend about 3″ above that.

    The shoulder does not yet have the leg modelled on as I want to avoid putting on any relatively thin attachments for now as those will tend to get firm and start drying out rapidly in comparison to the rest.

    I believe now I will work on modelling the shield as this will need a little time to firm up before it could be stood up on it’s bottom and be attached to the lion’s chest, at which point the legs and paws could be added.

    There is nearly 600# of clay in this model now, the shield, front legs and wings will probably use around 200# more, so as it stands now it appears I estimated the amount of clay required astonishingly close.

  • Louis Sullivan lion progress


    Progress for today on this model consisted of adding more height to and closing the top of the head which is now approx 4′ 2″ from the top of the modelling stand. There is now 525# of clay and I’ve added a second support strap for additional stability.

    I may, actually, will likely need to come up with a different method and location of support as I need to fill in around the neck now and the face and with the straps there I can’t just yet.

    Supports also cannot be rigid as clay begins to shrink and a support doesnt “give” a little to allow it, the clay can crack.

    Of course simply waiting a bit for the clay to firm up more will help a lot and at some point supports won’t be needed, right now as I work on the top the model has some “give.”

    Also, lately I am leaning towards making the head of this closer to the original concept sketch Mr Sullivan drew for the terra cotta company sculptors, and this sketch clearly shows the lions were to have OPEN mouths;

    I actually prefer that kind of lion depiction, so this would work out well and I would also have the only model done to his original concept.

    I have to assume the bank’s original owners ordered the change in the lion’s mouth design from open/fierce to closed/platonic out of some concern with the climate fierce/threatening sculptures directly by the entrance might have on customers.