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Late 19th c / early 20th c Advertising Lion for Northwest Tile Co., Chicago, IL

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Posted 5 years ago


(2726 items)

I bought this a couple months ago and like it more and more. it's very worn - most of the glaze has worn off it, but this is a hard stoneware or terracotta lion. i think it's deco in style, but not positive. could be art nouveau or arts and crafts as well. i have no idea where it's from.

Mystery Solved


  1. epson233 epson233, 5 years ago
    never thought of it as deco -- just the english garden lion or keeper of the enty way -- very pretty
  2. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 5 years ago
    i have quite a few antique lions - cast stone, pottery, cement, etc... and each one has a very unique style to him. this one definitely feels 'deco' to me. maybe nouveau, but mostly deco.
  3. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 years ago
    I just found an exact copy of this lion [although not as weathered as this one]. Apparently, it is a rare advertising piece for Northwest Tile Co. in Chicago [the makers of Louis Sullivan's and some of Frank Lloyd Wright's tiles]. it was designed by
    i just found out that this was designed as an advertising emblem by Fritz Albert and Albert Moreau for the Northwest Tile Co. in Chicago in the late 19th or early 20th century.

    this is from Urban Remains:
    very rare and original early 20th century white glazed figural terra cotta freestanding rearing lion statue fabricated as an advertising piece by the northwestern terra cotta co., chicago. the design is attributed to the highly skilled fritz albert, who for several years was the head modeler at northwestern. the unique advertising piece dates to the 1920's. founded in chicago in 1878 by a group of investors including john r. true, the northwestern terra cotta company became a major producer of terra cotta ornament used by the construction industry. the studios draftsmen (including the highly skilled fritz albert) transformed architectural blueprints into comprehensive shop drawings that identified exactly where and how each puzzle-like piece would be secured to its supporting structure. by the early 1890's, when northwestern terra cotta employed approximately 500 men, annual sales approached $600,000. by 1910, its large (still extant) plant at clybourn and wrightwood avenues had about 1,000 workers. the popularity of placing terra cotta moldings on building facades peaked in the 1920's, and northwestern terra cotta led the way, in chicago and around the country. around this time, the company opened plants in st. louis and denver. beginning with louis sullivan earlier in the century, prominent chicago architects like frank lloyd wright had extensive contracts with the company. included among the many landmark chicago buildings for which northwestern supplied extensive decorative moldings were the civic opera house, the chicago theater, the wrigley building, and the randolph tower. northwestern's operations in chicago declined alongside the construction industry during great depression and never returned to their 1920's levels. in 1965, northwestern terra cotta co.'s only remaining plant, in denver, closed. measures 13 x 6 x 4 inches. - See more at:
  4. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 years ago
    There is one difference i just noticed: mine had been mounted onto something else whereas the other ones were mounted during the manufacturing onto a slab w/ an inscription on the front. ??
  5. Gargoyler, 2 years ago
    "this is from Urban Remains:
    very rare and ..."

    Well of course they are going to claim it's "very rare" they are trying to sell theirs for a high price!
    These types of sitting lions were very popular and produced by many makers in many materials to be used in the garden and as finials for such things as driveway/entrance gate brick posts.
  6. Gargoyler, 2 years ago
    Also, this lion is not the same as the one at that link, the one at the link has a pedestal with the inscription, the one here doesn't and the base is rotated, this one was certainly a production version and out in the garden or on top of a post that is why the white glaze is gone.
    Actually, I doubt it is even glaze since I've never seen glaze fail like that, this looks more like colored concrete with white paint that had peeled off it.

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