The colossal lion from Nimrud was discovered by archaeologist Austen Henry Layard in 1849 and put on display in the British Museum.
The snarling muzzle and penetrating eyes apparently made an impression on English painter John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
His 1887 painting “Mariamne” features a lion sculpture that seems to be influenced by the Nimrud lion.
The same Assyrian lion (and Waterhouse’s painting itself) must have influenced Edward John Poynter (1836–1919), who used lions of similar design to flank the royal stairway in his painting “The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon,' 1890.
I read about this in Elizabeth's Prettejohn's essay in "J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern PreRaphaelite"