The Corcoran Museum Lions

Two large bronze lions on pedestals flank the staircase of the main entrance on 17th Street. These lions were bought in 1888 at the auction of the estate of Bill Holliday, founder of the Pony Express. 

Director Frederick B. McGuire acquired the bronzes for $1,900. They were displayed at the original home of the Corcoran Gallery on 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue (today the Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institute). There they faced the street, but when moved to the new building in 1897, they were placed facing each other. The lions are copies from the originals by Antonio Canova, which adorn the cenotaph of Pope Clement XIII in Rome (below)

Monument to Clement XIII by Canova