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Surface development and engineering From concept to fully finished solutions
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Case Studies

Chatsworth Lions - Roaring again!


The famous marble Lions were originally made by the sculptor Antonio Canova for the Rezzonico monument in St. Peters, Rome.

They were then commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1823, for Chatsworth House, England.

The sleeping Lion was made by Rinaldo Rinaldi. The Crouching Lion was made by Francesco Benaglia, each weighing 3.5 tonnes each


Project overview

The Chatsworth Lions are a well known and prominent presence in the Chatsworth sculpture hall.

We were asked by our client to accurately and in detail re-create the lions at a larger scale than the existing lions. There was one major obstacle, the lions were never completed by the two sculptors. As can be seen in the below image.


This was a prestigious project letting us demonstrate a class leading digital process allowing us to not only accurately capture the existing shape and form of the lions but also virtually sculpt the large missing areas of the original sculptures. 

Process and method.

3D scanning. This was intiallly performed in its entirety at the clients site. We used using our Optical Blue Light scanners from GOM. The lions were scanned to a high accuracy and level of resolution. See below an image of 3D scanning the lions in Situ.


Once the 3D scanning phase was complete and confident we had cpatured everything physically possible we post processed the collected 3D scan data at our offices.

Please see images of the competed 3D scan data.



 The completed 3D scan data was now ready for the virtual sculpting phase. After meetings with the client discussing thier needs and expectations in more detail the two lions were virtually sculpted in the areas that were missing. The key to this was to make the two lions look as though they were orginally completely scuplted in stone. While sculpting, a high level of care and attention was put into recreating the new side taking design cue's from the exsiting side. Every effort was made to understand the musculature and strucutre of each lion to make sure that these matched into the exisiting lions but also was as realistic as possible. 

See below for the completed sculpted two lions.

 Once the Lions were complete a full and final review was taken by the client prior to sign off. Once final sign was achieved we then prepared the Lions for the next stage. This was effectively preparation of the files for provision to the stone CNC phase. The client provided us with the required block sizes to the suit the machining capabilities.

The complete digital models were imported in to our design software (Icem Surf). This allows us to precisely divide and enginer the blocks ready for cnc machining. Each individually created block was then released to the CNC company for machning. See bleow for images of a blocked up Lion.


The blocks were then CNC machined directly using the files supplied. The machined blocks were then released to a traditianl stone masons for finishing. Once each block was complete the lions were assmebled on site.  See below for images.


                                              Once again ' The Lions Roar'






This was a very rewarding proiect with a real sense of creating (historically) what might have been. There is much said about modern technology undermining the traditinal skills.However this proved the absolute opposite. The finished result could not have been achieved without the input of of the whole team. The process we put together for this was ground breaking and used only the best hardware and software of which we are very experienced at. The combination of high end Optical 3D scanning, digital sculpting and design and egineering provided a result beyond all our expectations, apart from the team at SurfDev.

There are many advantges to this method, but the big plus from this is that the digital files exist allowing the lions to made at any size and any material in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Please feel free to contact us at SurfDev if you have any questions about our high end servcie for 3D Scanning, Reverse Engineering, Desgin and Engineerring or Measurement.



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