Burgersdorp Jubilee Fountain

Location: Burgersdorp, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Located in Burgher Square, the fountain was erected by the citizens of the town on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The structure was declared a national monument in 1988.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial. Cranes and a dedication shield are evident: Erected by the inhabitants of Burgersdorp and District in commemoration of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 1897. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription; 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.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contain flowers. The original terminal of a crown with a pattée cross is missing.

Under the canopy stands font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin is engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase is terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles support drinking cups on chains.

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; lions are symbolic of guardianship; and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

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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
  • 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
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • 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
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2 responses to “Burgersdorp Jubilee Fountain

  • Grey Granite

    Hi you recently left a request to use my pictures of Fraserburgh’s Saltoun Fountain on my Blog, Walking the Rainbow Trail. I replied saying fine to use them but I am currently unable to read the comments on the blog so may have missed your reply. I have more pictures of the fountain including some of it being painted and also have further info relating to it. If you would like these please email so that I can send them to you.

    • HIS

      Thanks for giving me permission to use photos. I have posted for Fraserburgh and Burgersdorp. However, if you have information that I do not have on Burgersdorp, I am very interested in receiving it. Thanks

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