The Court Favourite
Bronze statue with granite pedestal, date unknown
Flagstaff Gardens (Melway ref. 2F, A1)
Paul Montford was born in London in 1868. He studied at London's prestigious Royal Academy of Arts and immigrated to Australia in 1921. Montford was responsible for a number of commissions in Melbourne, including the statues of Justice George Higinbotham and poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. For the latter he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
Montford's The Court Favorite captures the action of a lithe youth playing with his boisterous pet lion cub. The cub crouches low and tugs fiercely at the youth's cloak. In his right hand the youth clasps a decorated baton, its handpiece a carved elephant head.
Councillor Baron Marks donated the statue to the Melbourne City Council. He had initially donated £200 towards statuary for Melbourne's parks and gardens, but when The Court Favorite became available he increased his donation to £400. The work was unveiled at a formal ceremony on 6 February 1930.