Three sandstone lions for three herrings

sculptor Leo sandstone Deventer The Three Herrings

new sandstone lion

sandstone lion copy

side view

Head lion sandstone Deventer old and new

two small relief stones with lion's head, old and new

Lions Deventer old-new

The left hand lion will be put back, the right hand one is a reconstructed copy, carved in mirror image. On the shield the house sign is depicted

For a property in Deventer I was asked to carve a set of lions in Bentheimer sandstone.

Two old lions were still present, but they were strongly weathered down. One of the lions was missing a paw and just as with the sandstone falcon there was massive weathering damage on top, caused by what I suspect were bird droppings. The topmost lion was only half present. Someone had already repaired it with cement somewhere in the past, but that too had now largely disappeared. Therefore this lion had to be reconstructed, in this case by Jan Tolboom, and then I was asked to carve a copy in new stone.


The original lions are probably very old, given their strange anatomy. In those days there was no internet yet, no library with books for reference nor even a zoo with a lion’s den where the sculptor could study the animals. The sculptor would have had to make do with descriptions and traditional depictions in trying to make a lion. So in the end, they have become somewhat endearing creatures.

I had to carve a mirrored copy, which is always a bit trickier than just carving a copy, for then I have to think in reverse. Finally, there was also a small relief stone with a lion's head to be copied.

Herrings and house sign

The lion with the three herrings on its shield comes on top of the facade, and the other two to the left and right; the old weathered lion will be placed back just as it is now, as I understand. The topmost lion will also get a copper banner between its paws.

The top lion carries on its shield the three herrings after which the property was named, and the right hand lion got the house sign that was found on one of the old lions. The house sign is a mark made up of simple lines, as a personal mark of the owner, that was later passed from father to son. is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well:

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