In the Lion’s Den

W H Rogers (1825-73)

mid-19th century

Oil on Canvas

42.2 x 48.8 cm

Rogers’ intimate painting depicts a keeper sitting uneasily with a lion, tiger and three liger cubs in a travelling cage. Ligers are the offspring of lions and tigers, and were in several travelling menageries recorded at this time. The picture may recall Atkins’s Royal Menagerie, in which a liger was born in October 1824 while the menagerie was visiting Windsor; the cub was duly presented to King George IV.

Ligers also grow larger than either of their parents, making them the largest cat on earth.