1816: Lion Attacks Horse in England

A BBC story tells about the nice price a painting brought at auction, which doesn't interest me in the least. What does interest me is the subject: a lion attack in England.

BBC News - Wiltshire lioness attack painting fetches £1,700 at auction:

"The oil painting, a 19th Century copy of a James Pollard work, shows the animal attacking the Exeter Mail Coach on 20 October, 1816, near Salisbury."

An earlier story from the same source tells more about the incident:

"The lioness had escaped from Ballard's travelling menagerie, which had stopped for the night nearby," he said.

"Two of the passengers of the coach fled to the inn and locked themselves inside, blocking the door against the remaining passenger and driver, while the mail guard, attempted to shoot the animal with his blunderbuss."
The lioness was eventually trapped under a granary and its capture was reported in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal.

The newspaper article stated: "Her owner and his assistants… made her lie down upon [a sack]; they then tied her four legs and passed a cord round her mouth, which they secured.

"In this state they drew her out from under the granary, upon the sack, and then she was lifted and carried … the lioness lay as quietly as a lamb during her removal to the caravan."

After the incident, the injured coach horse was bought by the owner of the lionness and displayed "with its wounds" alongside the recaptured lioness.


  1. Must have been an impressive sight :O

    I remember seeing once an engraving that shows a guy using a broom to force a very large and evil-looking lioness back into her cage. I wonder if it was the same- I don´t remember the date of the engraving, and the book where I saw it is currently in a box somewhere...

  2. I'm only beginning to realize how much of this kind of stuff is out there. Rembrandt sketched an elephant, George Stubbs painted lots of lions, and so on.

  3. I guess you've seen this one? http://bestpaintingsforsale.com/uploadpic/John%20Singleton%20Copley/big/Watson%20and%20the%20Shark.jpg

  4. Yeah, that's a cool one. There's an interesting story behind that one, as I recall--maybe I'll showcase that on the blog soon.

  5. Actually, Wikipedia has the story:

  6. Yeah, I had read the story and thought of sending you the link as well but then I thought you had to know about it already XD

  7. If in doubt, send! I'm always learning.


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