Whose lion is this?
January 7, 2012 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone recognize this lion?

This is definitely a long shot, but I figured I might as well ask. Months ago a friend of mine gave me a few boxes of expired sheet film that she had no use for, and one of those boxes contained 3 sheets of Tri-X that expired in 1985. We had no idea they were already exposed until I used one of them, and there was a photo of a lion's head along with my own exposure. Upon closed inspection, the box was actually labeled 'Lion', along with the photographer's name, which I think was 'Tony Bo', though it was hard to tell due to the pencil having faded quite a bit after 25 years or so.

Anyway, I got the rest of the sheets developed recently, and as you can tell it's actually a stuffed and mounted lion. I was hoping that maybe someone would recognize it as something that once was or is currently in a museum or some other public display. Like I said, a long shot, but you never know.
posted by Venadium to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should probably add that the person I received the film from got it from another friend of hers years ago, but he doesn't remember where, when, or how he came to have it, nor does he recognize the lion.
posted by Venadium at 9:04 PM on January 7, 2012

Google's search by image turns up nothing. (Figured you might have tried that, but just in case.)
posted by lewedswiver at 12:52 AM on January 8, 2012

I do recognize that lion, especially the way he is mounted. But I cannot place where I recognize it from. Maybe something I saw at the Field Museum in Chicago? Or one of the Leo the Lions?
posted by gjc at 5:55 AM on January 8, 2012

The "Leo" lions lived out their days at Gay's Lion Farm in El Monte, California, an attraction that is a small obsession of mine (I wrote the Wikipedia page). The only "Leo" that I know of who was stuffed after death was the original "Leo" Slats, who died in 1927 and was kept in Charles Gay's office at least until the farm closed in the 1940s. I've never seen a photo of Slats stuffed, but your lion has a much smaller mane. So if this is a Leo, it's a different cat.
posted by Scram at 10:32 AM on January 8, 2012

Oh, sorry, Numa the lion was stuffed, too, but Numa also had a big old mane.
posted by Scram at 10:36 AM on January 8, 2012

This lion looks familiar to me as well, but perhaps that's just a normal-looking lion. At first I thought that maybe it's a documentary photo of a lion that has been prepared for a diorama at a museum? The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has a lion diorama with a very similarly posed lion, although it's not the one in your picture. I also thought that it could be a taxidermists' "trophy" photo to advertise his/her services, similar to something like this. Googling "African Lion full body mount" gets you things like this (from this auction). Who knew there were so many of these things!

If you have any idea of where the photo might come from (New York?) perhaps looking for local museums with African exhibits might be worthwhile (I don't think it's the American Museum of Natural History's lion diorama, for example.) But you might actually be better off asking at a forum specifically for taxidermists. I wonder if someone might recognize it, or the frame/pose/technique maybe.
posted by gemmy at 10:09 PM on January 8, 2012

Response by poster: Yea, I was actually considering asking someone familiar with taxidermy if they recognized the work. It's probably pretty likely that the film is from the NYC area, but I couldn't say for sure.
posted by Venadium at 6:56 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: This lion was mounted by taxidermist Tony Bo from Staten Island.
posted by naiomi at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2012

Best answer: That certainly could be correct. See this picture of him with a lion that has the same square-ish mouth, where he is listed as from Bloomingburg, NY. I did a search for this and came up with a forum where it was suggested that he might have worked for the Jonas Brother's Studio in Brewster, NY.
posted by gemmy at 7:54 PM on July 22, 2012

Jonas Bros. also had a studio in Denver and Mt. Vernon, NY.
posted by naiomi at 3:10 PM on November 25, 2012

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