Architectural Artifact of the month (October 2019)

Artifact: Keystone, lion with ring
Material: Grey Terra Cotta
Identification marks: 162. inscribed in clay on top
Dim’s h/w/d: 22-1/2” x 14-3/5” x 10”
Weight: 65#
Origin: NYC tenement

A number of buildings in NYC feature this Roman inspired lion with ring keystone design, both with the integrated top cornice shown and without. The keystones date to circa 1905.

Lions depicted with rings in their mouth were popular back in the ancient Roman era and have been used in many different applications besides architectural keystones, such as drawer and cabinet pulls, carvings on furniture and soforth.

This particular keystone is identical to a couple I salvaged in NYC in the 1970s/1980s, though it is in better condition. This one was painted over at some point with gold paint of all things, it took a lot of effort to remove the stupid paint to restore it back to the 100 plus year patina. The gold paint is shown in the second photo below.