The Animal Wall, located at the southern boundary of the park on Castle Street, is one of the most delightful and photographed historic features in Cardiff.
The concept for the wall is attributed to architect William Burges who was employed by the 3rd Marquess of Bute. However, Burges died before even the structure of the wall was completed and the carving of the animals did not begin until the late 1880s. Architect William Frame brought the Animal Wall to completion, based on sketches by Burges.
The wall was constructed in two phases. The original wall was erected in the 1890s directly outside the castle and the original animals included: a pair of lions holding shields, a lioness, a lynx, a bear, a sea lion, a wolf, a pair of apes and a hyena. You can tell these apart from their later cousins because they have glass eyes.
The wall was moved and relocated west of the Castle in 1923 due to the widening of Duke Street, and six extra animals were added. The six additional animals were the vulture, beaver, leopard, a pair of raccoons, a pelican and an anteater. These later carved animals have a more stylised form and no glass eyes.
Models of each animal were made for Lord Bute’s approval and two, including a “sea horse”, were rejected.