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An Antique Carved Stone Bear Head Sculpture

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  • £1,675.00
  • €1,962 Euro
  • $2,124 US Dollar

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Item Description

An antique carved sandstone head of a bear, mounted to a custom steel display stand. This sculpture is thought to have been part of a corbel in a grand house. It could now be displayed as a decorative piece inside a home, pride of place, ready for guests to peer at and question, or perhaps be a part of a collection.

The interesting looking bear dates back hundreds of years to the Stuart era in the 1600s - a time when bear baiting was a huge source of entertainment, even enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) herself.
It has stood the test of time with elements, such as its ear, eyes, and snout, still intact. Its features are certainly eye-catching and leave room for the imagination.

Bear baiting was a very popular sport from the 12th to the 19th century in England. Spectators sat on benches in a round arena, while a bear was tethered to a stake in the middle of the ring, able to move only a short distance before being drawn up sharply when it got to the end of its tether. This is where the English phrase ‘at the end of my tether' comes from.

Dogs would be released to taunt the bear, and the excitement came from the tension between the animals. The crowd would roar, and after several bouts, some of the animals even became minor celebrities. London’s bear pits were home to those with nicknames such as “Ned Whiting,” “Harry Hunks” and “Blind Bess.”

King James I (1603-1625) was such a fan of the sport that he hosted private shows involving polar bears and lions borrowed from the Tower of London’s animal menagerie.

Shakespeare frequently refers to bear baiting in his plays, using it as a metaphor for his characters’ situations. The great bear named “Sackerson,” was even referenced by name in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Bear-baiting was later banned outright in England following an 1835 act of parliament, but a few remnants of its history have survived today - this statue being one.


Base diameter: 27cm (10.63 in)
Head: Height 18cm x Width 21cm (7.08 in x 8.26 in)


Good structural condition. Fitted to a modern steel stand. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses, scuffs, and scratches.

Item Info



Seller Location

Herefordshire, Worcestershire

Item Dimensions

H: 30cm W: 20cm D: 22cm


Circa 1600

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Location

Herefordshire, Worcestershire

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Contact No

+44 (0)1981 541155

+44 (0)778 6916288