These massive lions were a gift from Eva Stotesbury, Miss Duke's mother-in-law. In 1935, Doris Duke married James Cromwell and they immediately embarked on an around-the-world honeymoon. They explored the Middle East, India, China and traveled throughout Southeast Asia -- and these travels had an enormous impact on Doris Duke's taste and collections.
James was the son of the financier Oliver Cromwell and Eva Cromwell. When James' father died, his mother remarried Edward Stotesbury, who worked with both the Drexel and Morgan banks, and was one of the wealthiest men in the country before the stock market crash. The Stotesburys were famous both for their enormous collections and grand estates -- their summer house in Bar Harbor, El Mirasol in Palm Beach and, above all, vast Whitemarsh Hall outside of Philadelphia constructed by Horace Trumbauer.