What is it about?

This article describes a series of 6 artworks made by Horton and presented at the ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, in November 2019. These collaged drawings use depictions of lion ornaments found in suburban gardens. Exploring the lion as a symbol of England’s colonial past the drawings seek to subvert the idea of the lion as a symbol of power through the decorative interventions applied to them in the drawings. Decoration is here used as a form of critique.

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Why is it important?

The research question being addressed is to what extent the depiction of the lion in artworks derived from photographs of lion statuary can be used to subvert notions of power when used with pattern and decoration? The paper has gathered new significance following the critical actions and voices around colonial racist monuments. The lion is often used in British statuary to signify power and dominance and these drawings aim to problematise the use of lion when used as a garden ornament.


The drawings that were the focus of this article were created during the limbo of Britain’s Brexit negotiations in 2019 and made just prior to the BLM movement of 2020. This paper was written for a special edition of the Drawing Research Theory and Practice journal featuring its editorial members and guest editors. This particular edition was guest-edited by Professor Anita Taylor, the founding director of the Jerwood Drawing Prize. The paper was subject to double peer review.

Sarah Horton
Norwich University of the Arts

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The lion king? Drawings of the lion garden ornament, Drawing Research Theory Practice, April 2020, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/drtp_00023_1.
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