Friday, 2 October 2009

Forever Friends

Talking of London Zoo, this is the life-size statue that stands right in the centre of it, between the flamingo lake and the tiger enclosure.

Yep. Striking, isn't it? In case you can't read the plaque, it records that the sculpture was presented to the zoo by J. B. Wolff in 1906.

I see. So, in 1906, J. B. Wolff commissioned an enormous sculpture representing man and beast locked in their age-old conflict; the lion straining to rend the man apart with tooth and claw; the man armed with a primitive knife, desperately trying to disembowel the lion - implacable enemies locked in a fight for survival only one of them can win.

And then he gave it to a zoo.

You know what I think? I think J.B. Wolff simultaneously gave the zoo a large amount of money, on condition that they prominently display this statue in perpetuity. I think J.B.Wolff hated the zoo. You're a funny guy, J.B. Wolff.


riffle said...

Mr. Finnemore: You have inadvertently stepped into a controversy.

If the statue's true title is "Stealing the Cubs," then PETA would want it subtitled "How We Collect Cuddly Animals for the Zoo."

If, on the other hand, it's correctly titled "Negro fighting a Lion," I'd say Roger Wattis would want to subtitle it "Knife Crime Runs Wild!"

Off topic: My favorite commemoration of Animalia is the plaque to the cactus moth in Queensland.

John Finnemore said...

More good sleuthing, Riffle. You should start an agency. 'Negro fighting a Lion', eh? That's just the cherry on the cake for J.B.Wolff.

Enjoyed the Cactus Moth monument, but even more so the one to the Boll Weevil linked to from that page...

Richard O. Smith said...

Does anyone recall an edition of Bullseye when a contestant, in response to Jim Bowen's question: "What crop does the boll weevil beetle attack?", replied: "is it the Lincolnshire potato, Jim?".
Jim duly flipped over the card, and having failed to mask his shock that this wasn't the correct answer, replied "it appears not, bad luck".

Potato by itself was an amusing answer; prefixing it with "Lincolnshire" was unintentional comedy genius.

Now let's have a look at what he could have won......

Anonymous said...

As a former zookeeper, I assure you most zookeepers would adore this statue and want it near their break room where they could make up their own titles for it.

Ys truly,
Mudge Fewmets,
world famous mole trainer

Clairealice said...

I'm sure on a post this old, no one well see this comment but... I feel somehow I should report that the first time I saw this picture (a few moments ago), I honestly thought it was a statue of a man fighting a kangaroo...

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