Trafalgar Square (11): The lions No tourist's visit to Trafalgar Square is complete without a photograph taken in front of one Landseer'slions. The blackened bronze exerts an almost magnetic attraction, enticing more athletic visitors to clamber up the stone plinth, crouch in front of the lion's front paws and pose for the nearest camera. Some even complete the assault course to sit astride thelion's back, but they'd better get that photo taken sharpish before a queue develops back down on the ground beneath them. The lions weren't always so popular, however. Victorian artist EdwinLandseer spent a full ten years trying to complete the sculptures to his own satisfaction, during which time their non-appearance became something of a joke in the British press. He had to base the lions' likeness on a dead specimen provided by the London Zoological Gardens, but he was never quite satisfied with the end result. The British establishment were equally critical when the sculptures were finally unveiled in 1867. The front half of each creature was majestic and elegant, but the hindquarters appeared somehow less than leonine. But nobody today seems to mind that the lions' backs curve inwards instead of outwards - maybe because this makes them so much easier to sit on.