Photos in order of appearance: gargoyle and Cummer Oak, 2012; detail of gargoyle, 2012; gargoyle, 2012.
The gargoyle on the pedestal was acquired in 1981 from a building slated for demolition in New York City and was installed in the Italian Garden. The gargoyle symbol dates to Greek and Roman times and is a common feature in medieval churches in France. They were protective symbols and often projected from the eaves of buildings to drain off rainwater.
Near the gargoyle, sitting at the foot of the stairs, is a pink marble lion that is the biggest of the many lion sculptures and decorations. The lion motif is seen frequently throughout the Cummer Gardens on benches and chairs. Though it is not known why Mrs. Cummer chose lions, it is possible that they were selected for their association with courage and nobility. It is also possible that because the heraldic lion is seen all over England, Mrs. Cummer chose to use the symbol throughout her gardens as a complement to her English Tudor style home.