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Lioness and cubs in the park at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. The cub on the right of the picture is the one that has disappeared. Photo: Kristoffer Horne
Lioness and cubs in the park at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. The cub on the right of the picture is the one that has disappeared. Photo: Kristoffer Horne

Press release -

Oslo's missing lion cub

The Lioness and cubs is a sculpture that has graced the park at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo since 1892. One of the lion cubs was reported missing 18 years ago. The conservators and curators of the City of Oslo Art Collection are now asking the public for any information they may have about it.

This is one of the collection’s oldest sculptures. We are currently carrying out conservation work on the piece and searching into its history, how it came to Oslo and what has happened to the missing lion cub, says Ingrid Skard Skomedal, a conservator with the City of Oslo Art Collection, which is managed by the municipal Department for Culture and Sport. If anyone knows anything about the missing sculpture, they can contact Ingrid at

The sculpture was last restored in the 1970s, when it was treated for corrosion and repainted. – The last photo we have of the sculpture with both lion cubs in place dates from 1990, says Skomedal. The cub was actually reported missing in 2004.

Both lion cubs are present in this photo taken by Erik Bjørn Johannessen in 1990.

Probably by a famous French artist

Conservators are also trying to find out who created the sculpture. There are strong indications that it was the famous French sculptor Isidore Bonheur, although this has not been conclusively verified. Bonheur was an artist known for his animal sculptures. The Lioness and cubs can be found in several different versions and sizes around the world.

How did it end up in Oslo’s collection?

The sculpture was gifted to the City of Oslo by engineer Carl Michael Eger. Eger was among those who took part in the development of Manhattan and built up the Hecla Iron Works in New York, along with Danish engineer and architect Niels Poulsen. It was Eger who designed the 12-storey spiral staircase inside the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour.

About the sculpture Lioness and cubs

  • Made of cast iron in around 1891. Nowadays, it is unusual to find sculptures made of cast iron, many of them were melted down to make weapons and ammunition during times of war.
  • Possibly made by the French sculptor Isidore Bonheur.
  • The piece was cast by H. Stuetzer.
  • It weighs 400 kg without the missing lion cub.
  • The lion cubs are painted black, are 40–50 cm long and weigh 20–25 kg.
  • The sculpture was shipped from the USA to Norway in July 1891.
  • The City of Oslo Art Collection is currently examining its condition and assessing the best kind of corrosion protection for inside the sculpture, and the surface must be repainted.

The sculpture is currently undergoing conservation at the Fellesverkstedet art and design workshop. Photo: Ingrid Skard Skomedal / City of Oslo.


The Agency for Cultural Affairs (Kulturetaten) ensures quality, diversity and development in cultural offerings in Oslo. The Agency also recommends candidates for grants and scholarships for various projects aiming to promote art, culture and media in the city. The Agency is also responsible for the City of Oslo’s art programme, the City Archives, Oslo Culture School, the Pop Centre, the Vigeland Museum, the sculptures in the Vigeland Park, Oslo Culture Night, Oslo biennalen, summer camps, cultural properties, the Events Office (arrangementskontoret), and more.

Stein Slyngstad has been director since 2018.


Tone Kjensmo

Tone Kjensmo

Press contact Communication advisor, Culture Affairs +47 470 79 019

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