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Alhambra Lions

2007–2011

Commissioned by the Nasrid sultan Muhammed V of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus, the Courtyard of the Lions is the main courtyard of the Palace of the Lions and is the architectural pinnacle of the Alhambra. Its construction started between 1362 and 1391 AD. The Fountain of the Lions consists of a central basin supported by 12 white marble lions whose mouths spout water into channels below which run across the marble courtyard, creating movement and sounds across the centre of the palace. They are large for sculptures of animals in Islamic art, but as in other sites of al-Andalus such as the earlier Medina Azahara near Cordoba, there are multiple animals and that are shown in a subordinate position, as carrying the bowl of the fountain.

The Lions were removed in 2007 for restoration while the fountain was restored in situ while the court was closed to visitors, the marble lions were restored on the premises of the Department of Conservation of the Council of the Alhambra. The lions were put back in place in July 2012 after recovering the traditional water flow system of the Court of the Lions. I set up a small studio in the building where the restoration process was undertaken and would usually work during bank holidays when the restoration team were away.  During this five year project I made and extensive archive of images which document the The Lions before, during and after restoration process.