Firm and Faithful, the two lions at the base of the Bridge of Lions welcome residents and visitors to Saint Augustine. Commissioned in 1927 by former mayor and medical doctor Andrew Anderson, Italian sculptor F. Romenlli created the two statues based on a pair of statues at the Loggia de Lanzi in Florence.
In the mid-2000s, the city hired local sculptors Enzo Torcoletti and Joseph Segal to restore and clean the lions while they were in storage during construction on the Bridge of Lions. Unveiled again in May 2011, the newly renovated bridge and restored lions inspired new Saint Augustine residents Gail and Jeff Kraker. Gail did extensive research on the origins of the lions and spent a full year searching for replicas with no success.
“One of the first things I wanted for our home was a set of tiny replicas of the lions,” Gail explains. “I wanted the lions to be made of the same Carrara marble the lions on the bridge are made of. I found a few shops that make Carrara marble statuettes, but wasn't happy with the craftsmanship. After months of searching, I nearly gave up. To my surprise, I soon found what I believe to be the best statuette makers on earth—Old World artisans in Staffordshire, England.”
The Italian Carrara marble used by the artisans is the brightest white, usually reserved for government buildings. The statuettes are hand-casted and hand-sculpted and Gail approves each set before she offers the lions to people who love Saint Augustine.
Five years since that first search, Gail has a thriving business providing heirloom quality statuettes of Firm and Faithful. “They are like the lions on the bridge in every way, down to being made of Carrara marble and having the same inscription on their bases.”
You can purchase a set for your home or to give as a gift at StAugustineLovesLions.com.