The Lion of Gripsholm Castle
In 1731, King Frederik I of Sweden was given gifts from the Bey of Algiers. These included a lion, another wildcat, three hyenas, and a freed slave who became the animals’ keeper. The creatures lived out their lives at Djurgården, the Royal Game Park. Several years after the lion had died its remains were sent to a taxidermist to be mounted. By then all that remained was the pelt and some bones, and the taxidermist they were sent to was highly unfamiliar with lions. Some have speculated that the taxidermist may have used heraldic lion images as a guide. There may also have been alcohol involved. The result is now on display at Gripsholm Castle, a former royal residence turned museum in Mariefred, Södermanland.