One of a pair of recumbent lion sculptures
on east front, 1995
Now solitary testament to the colossal scale
and grandeur of the buildings which once stood in Hamilton Low Parks
and a monument to the self-belief of Alexander,
10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852), Hamilton Palace Mausoleum
has been described as 'an extraordinary work of architectural sculpture
rather than a building'. Built between about 1850 and 1857 to the
designs of the architect, David Bryce (1803-76), this piece of 'architectural
sculpture' was itself associated with some equally remarkable sculptures
by Alexander Handyside Ritchie (1804-70).
On the east side of the mausoleum, mounted on
pedestals at each end of the terrace above the grand entrance to
the crypt, are two huge recumbent lions, each carved from a single
block of stone. One of the guardian lions is awake and alert, the
other, shown here, is fast asleep.
Immediately below the terrace where the lions
lay, there are three arched entrances with keystones carved in the
form of large heads representing Life, Death and Immortality, which
are also the work of Handyside Ritchie. The entrance to the crypt
is through the central archway.