Lion qui marche references Barye's earlier model for a bronze lion for the foot of the Colonne de Juillet in the Place de la Bastille, Paris. Barye modelled the magnificent Colonne de Juillet lion in 1836 in high-relief and it differs from Lion qui marche by its raised tail and forward left front foot. They are however very similar in attitude and the Colonne de Juillet was inaugurated in July 1840 shortly before Lion qui marche and its pendant tigre, were completed in 1841. Both were included in the 1844 catalogue by Besse et Cie, which noted, 'Ici, c'est le développement de la force musculaire, en l'absence de la passion, c'est l'animal dans toute la beauté de sa forme, de la noblesse de son allure, c'est un tigre, c'est un lion, c'est la nature prise sur le fait.'
In the Vente Barye of 1876 the models of Lion qui marche (N° 656) and Tigre qui marche (N° 657) were purchased and then edited by the Barbedienne foundry. They were among Barye's most popular, and consequently, most reproduced works. The present bronzes are each numbered '702' in ink to the underside, denoting that they were probably created as a true pair. The Barye catalogues occasional offer them as pendants, but it is unusual to find them still paired.