The Maiwand Lion
The Maiwand Lion in the Forbury Gardens celebrates the valiant last stand of the Royal Berkshire Regiment at the Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan in 1880. A massive 31 feet long it is one of the world’s largest bronzes, taking two years to design and complete. Lord Wantage unveiled it in December 1886.
According to an urban legend current in Reading the sculptor of the lion got the stance of the legs wrong and a real lion would fall over. Realising his mistake after he created it he committed suicide. Recent investigation by staff at Reading Museum and H. Godwin Arnold and Sidney M. Gold reveals that Simonds’ work on lion anatomy was in fact correct, being based on careful observation of real lions, not to mention the fact he actually had another forty-three years to live.