Out & About: Tusk Lion Trail
We’ve been out and about making sure the London hotels look their best after their lock-down sabbatical and whilst walking between them, we have encountered some unusual beasts!
Partial to a lion, or a lion’s bust here at my home, we have been exploring the Tusk Lion Trail and of course drawing inspiration and finding parallels with each lion and our work.
The Tusk Lion Trail is a global celebration of African lions and the people who live alongside them through exceptional art.
Roaming through the heart of London, you can discover 27 life-sized lion sculptures, designed and made by artists, musicians and sportspeople.
They are prowling the streets to highlight the threats currently faced by ‘the King of Beasts’, and to raise vital funds to support community conservation and livelihoods impacted by Covid-19 across Africa. Each lion will be sold at Bonhams auction on 9th November to raise funds to support Tusk’s conservation programmes across Africa.
We’ve picked a few of our favourites to look out for…
London Pride by Adam Dant
Located around the corner from Covent Garden Hotel at 40 Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RB
Adam Dant is a British artist renowned for his highly detailed printed maps and narrative drawings. Born in 1967 he trained in printmaking at the Royal College of Art and Ms University India.
Inspired by the many London pubs named after the Lion, this one is decorated in the British tavern vernacular style and cloaked in a very useful boozing map.
The lion’s coat is decorated in tonal colours and its link to a place to have a drink reminds us of Ham Yard Hotel’s iconic bar, with hand-painted boxes overhead and paired with the monochrome mixed media artwork by Ras Ishi Butcher on the opposite wall. We think Adam Dant and his lion would approve!
English King by Glen Baxter
Located a stone’s throw away from Ham Yard Hotel at 30 Glasshouse St, W1B 4DY
Glen Baxter has exhibited his work in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Belgium and Tokyo and appears in many private and museum collections around the world. He was awarded the Order of a Chevalier Des Arts Et Des Lettres by The French Republic.
He says, “I wanted to celebrate the king of beasts and place him in a quintessential English garden setting and chose the art of topiary.”
We are sure this lion is on his way to Ham Yard Hotel, where he would look at home on the roof terrace surrounded by immaculately pruned box hedges and tempted by the vegetables we are growing.
We practice the art of topiary in my not so quintessential English garden!
Kamuro by Ian Davenport
Located in St James’ Churchyard at St James’s Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9LL
Ian Davenport studied at Goldsmiths’ College of Art in London and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1991.
He has taken inspiration from his ‘Splat’ series to create a colourful, dynamic painted surface across the majestic lion.
This lion reminds us of Howard Hodgkin’s artwork ‘As Time Goes By’ in The Croc Bowling Alley at Ham Yard Hotel. Hodgkin completed these two colossal pieces when he was 89 years old. He worked into the prints, painting by hand. When designing the building, we made sure there was just enough space to hang the two works side-by-side, a rare feat to be able to do. One of our all-time favourite artists, we wish we could see a lion designed by Hodgkin.
Big Blue by John Illsley
Located around the corner from Ham Yard Hotel at 30 Glasshouse St, W1B 4DY
John Illsley was a founding member and Bassist of Dire Straits. Since his touring days ended in 1992, he has been painting in his studios in Hampshire and Provence. He has had several one man shows in London, New York, Sydney and Provence over the last 20 years!
Illsley aimed to capture the overwhelming nobility of the lion.
We are proud to own some of John Illsley’s work, displayed throughout the hotels. Here is an oil on canvas entitled Solent no30 in the Library at Knightsbridge Hotel.
You will find another of his paintings looking in the opposite direction towards the hotel lobby. Big Blue Lion wouldn’t be out of place in this room with its African print fabric on the wing chair and papier-mâché antelope head.
Rose Lion by Rob & Nick Carter
Located at 30 Burlington Arcade, W1J 0PX
Rob and Nick Carter are a husband and wife artistic duo who have been collaborating for over 20 years. Their work revolves around light, colour and form in many different mediums including painting, photography, light installations, film and sculpture. Collectors include Sir Elton John, Jude Law and Sir Peter Blake.
Their regular trips to the park, during lockdown 2020, inspired a new body of work documenting all the roses within the Hyde Park Rose Garden, London.
This reminds us of when our fabulous florist, Lewis Miller, created one of his famous ‘Flower Flashes’ on our Crosby the Cat outside Crosby Street Hotel. He is no stranger to the feeling of being admired on the streets!
Seeking inspiration in the park as Rob and Nick Carter have done, why not take one of our delicious picnic hampers that our hotels can freshly prepare for you.
Join the pack and take yourself on a tour of some of London’s most iconic landmarks by following the trail.
See the full London Pride for yourself using Tusk Lion Trail’s interactive map.