I'm having a terrible time trying to get Blogger to let me put my photos where I want them, so I guess I'll just leave them at the bottom. I looked at a lot of photos taken of live lions and I also had a lot of fun studying Edward Hick's paintings with his Kingdoms that included lions that changed and aged as his paintings changed over many years. You'll be able to see in the first photo that I've decided to do a shadowed gray/buckskin lion, although right now, with so little hooked, the lion looks more like a goat.
This is one of Edward Hicks' lions
I decided to use Hicks' lions for my models. I'm guessing that a post-American Civil War rug hooker would not be familiar with live lions and would have to rely on available books or paintings or photos. Edward Hicks, a Quaker minister, painted at least 62 different "Peaceable Kingdom" paintings and they all included a lion. Those paintings could have travelled from his Pennsylvania to other Quaker meeting houses in New England and elsewhere, so I'm guessing our early hooker could have seen at least one of them. Of course, the pattern gives some information about how the lion should be hooked. The pattern gives a longer face to the lion, but that's all workable.