Wall Inset Models – Saracen #17

Location: Eire and England

The font, casting number 17 (4’5” x 2’10”) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The design utilizes features of the canopy used in drinking fountain number 8, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch outlined with rope detail which also encircles a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The recessed interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap protruded. A single drinking cup on a chain was originally suspended above a fluted demi-lune basin.

Sometimes, no matter how much I research, there is little information available online. Such is the case with the following drinking fountains.

The fountain at Athlone Railway Station in Ireland has been neglected as evidenced by rust and the missing medallion.

A pair of drinking fountains set into the wall at Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent, England, also show rust. The crane medallion is still in place.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, and cranes, recognized as a symbol of vigilance, are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

broadstairs_geograph paul harrop

Creative commons license, Paul Harrop. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5535723

The following examples are the same model; however, the medallion has been customized.

A drinking fountain embedded into a wall at the entrance to the Old School Tea Room car park in Falstone, Northumberland, England, was installed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The standard crane medallion was replaced with the left facing profile of Queen Victoria.

The medallion in a polished and lacquered version of design #17 hosts a lion passant guardant meaning it is walking while looking towards you (on guard). I have been unable to find a similar heraldic image to explain this customization. The item was sold in 2009 by an auction house following salvage from a Wimbledon home in England.

wimbledon sif

Source: Scottish Ironwork Foundation

Glossary

  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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Weedsport Drinking Fountain

Location: Weedsport, Brutus, NYS, USA

The Weedsport Water Company was contracted to supply the village with water in 1896. The source of the water was a spring on the north east corner of Bell and South Seneca Streets directly across from St. Joseph’s Church. The water ran through wooden pipes along the East side of Seneca Street to the ornamental drinking fountain. Although unable to find details on when the fountain was erected it is visible in photographs dated circa 1916.

In the late 1930s widening of Route 34 (Seneca Street) required removal of the fountain, and it was put up for auction. Local businessman Clint Hazzard who owned a livery stable, ice house and storage barn on Furnace Street and a gentleman from Centerport offered competing bids. When the man from Centerport won he hired Clint to transport it to Centerport where it was demolished for scrap.

The cast iron structure manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works was seated on an octagonal base with chamfered corners. Four small basins at ground level allowed dogs to drink, and two large fluted troughs to quench the thirst of horses and cattle.

Eight panels, surmounted with scalloped arches, hosted dolphin masks from which water spouted into four demi-lune basins decorated with laurel leaves. Anchored adjacent to the basin were drinking cups suspended on chains. A square central column displayed cartouches containing an orb surrounded by flourish. Each corner was bound with a highly decorated pilaster.

The capital supported an urn flanked by two elaborate consoles supporting glass lanterns with open-winged bird finials. The highly decorated urn was capped with an orb and pineapple finial (symbolic of friendship and hospitality).

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Chamfered, a beveled edge connecting two surfaces
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure

Bridgeton Cross Drinking Fountain

Location: Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland

The most well-known and prominent feature of Bridgeton is the Shelter and Clock manufactured by George Smith & Co.

A purchase order was issued by the City Improvement Trust in 1873 to provide shelter from inclement weather in an open space created by the removal of buildings during the Slum Clearance. It was officially unveiled on 3 March 1875.

The shelter which proved popular became a meeting place for a variety of groups, and inevitably a refuge for the homeless population and addicts. Known locally as the Umbrella, it was recorded as a Class A Historic Building on 16th March 1993 and restored in 2007 by Clyde Gateway and Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

An article in the British Architect of 1874 reported that the 20 feet high shelter would offer a drinking fountain in each side. As photographic evidence is scarce it would appear that the only drinking fountain installed was in the street on the east side of the structure.

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Fountain is visible in centre of image. Image provided by the Scottish Ironwork Foundation, courtesy of John P. Bolton

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Fountain is visible on the left

There is no record of its removal or the whereabouts of its relocation. It is possible that it was destroyed after being requisitioned during the Second World War as raw material for the war industries. It could also have been removed following a new understanding of waterborne diseases which caused Typhoid Fever and Cholera.

The drinking fountain, design number 10, cast by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow, was seated on an octagonal base. The single fluted pedestal supported the large basin (2 feet 8 inches in diameter) containing pattern #8 identified as ‘boy with a paddle and urn’. Water was distributed via the urn and retrieved with a cup suspended on a chain. At ground level, a small trough supplied water to dogs. The structure was 5 feet tall.

Sun_#10_putto paddle

 

Glossary

  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Stowmarket Council School Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk, England

A cast iron structure located just inside the War Memorial gates on Finborough Road was purchased as a memorial to past students who gave their lives during the First World War. The drinking fountain was installed in the Recreation Ground opened on 1 May 1920 by Mr. George Ormes, chairman of the Stowmarket Urban District Council’s War Memorial Committee.

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In 1961 Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Suffolk included an exhibition of local industry, arts, crafts and agricultural produce in the Recreation Ground at Stowmarket. To provide ease of access to the Queen’s vehicle the fountain was moved to the western corner of the park. It was not returned to its original location until 2007 following restoration of the structure.

The drinking fountain was recorded as a Grade II historic listed building on 20 February 2017.

The 6’ 2” drinking fountain, design number 18, was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered square plinth, it has a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with canted corners, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Three sides of the central obelisk contain swan and bird relief. The fourth side contains a dedication; This Drinking Fountain / Was Presented / To The Town Of / Stowmarket / By The Children Of The / Adjacent Senior Council / School In Memory Of / Those Old Scholar s/ Who Made The / Supreme Sacrifice / In The Great War / 1914-18. A kylix-shaped vase terminal with four consoles originally offered drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife, and eagles represent immortality.

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Georgetown Fountains

Location: Georgetown, Guyana

On August 14, 1923 the Cenotaph was unveiled at the intersection of Main and Church Streets. This memorial replaced a cast iron drinking fountain erected in 1867 to mark the completion of the Water Works in 1866. The drinking fountain which was relocated to the green opposite St. Rose’s High School in Church Street, just a few hundred feet from its original location, no longer exists.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure was 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,’ or optional memorial shields. On two of the sides provision were made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure was surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The fountain was operated by pressing a button.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

PROMENADE GARDENS
A second cast iron drinking fountain is located in the Promenade Gardens. A dedication plaque states; Presented / to the city / of Georgetown / by / Mrs. L.C. Probyn / 1882.

The fountain is design number 13 by George Smith & Co. manufactured by the Sun Foundry. The base is in the form of a compass cross with canted corners. It has a central pedestal and four columns decorated with diamond frieze and nail head molding which support the font. The large basin has nail head relief on the rim and is partitioned by four foliate brackets from which cups were suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts on each side released water flow. The structure is surmounted with a chained orb terminal. The base is 2 ft wide, basin is 2 ft 9” wide and the height of the structure is 4’ 9”.

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Castro Square Fountain

Location: Candeias, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Candeias which literally means oil lamps was originally a small village within the city of Campo Belo. Drinking water was transported by hand from local streams, and when numerous requests to the city management for a supply of drinking water were ignored a group of local politicians initiated diversion of water into a water box and from there through pipes into the village. Taps to access the water flow were later installed in the square and surrounding streets.

In celebration of the village’s successful project without the assistance of Campo Belo city management, and to commemorate the strength of their commitment, a drinking fountain was purchased surmounted with a statue of Samson, a symbol of strength. The village people accessed this clean water source using cans and buckets often carried on their heads.

The drinking fountain is located on Avenue Dezessete de Dezembro in the gardens known as Monsignor Castro Square.

Design number 19 was advertised by Walter Macfarlane & Co. to be used as a standalone fountain or placed under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the 10’ 10” structure is seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth.

It has a wide base with canted corners supporting a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins (one of the lion jambs is currently missing). The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus.

Four consoles protruding from the column originally suspended drinking cups on chains. The capital supported the finial, a statue of Samson.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

 


Fontana Sansone

Location: San Valentino, Pescara, Italy

The cast iron drinking fountain located at the base of the staircase leading to the church of San Valentino and Damiano is seated on a two tiered circular stone plinth. The date of its installation is unknown.

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The structure which was restored in 1989 is design number 19 by Walter Macfarlane & Co., advertised as a standalone fountain or for placement under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the 10’ 10” structure has a wide base with canted corners supporting a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus.

Four consoles protruding from the column offered suspended drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson with a drape tied at his waist, breaking free of the ties which bind his wrists. The square plinth upon which the statue stands is inscribed with name Samson and Walter MacFarlane & Co. Glasgow.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support