Location: Brora, Sutherland, Scotland
The drinking fountain at Fountain Square on the corner of Rosslyn & Gower Streets was erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897. Restored in 2010 as part of the village regeneration project the fountain is now located on a low square stepped plinth with diminutive modern wall enclosing a miniature garden with seating. The fountain is recorded as a Category B building and was listed in 1984.
Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high and was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow,. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.
Rope moulded cartouches contained within each lunette host the bust of Queen Victoria in profile and arch faceplate inscribed, 1837 Victoria Jubilee 1897. On two of the sides provision was 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, seated on a two tiered square plinth, is surmounted by open filigree dome with a crown and lantern finial. As lighting technology advanced, the lantern changed from being fired by gas to electricity as evidenced by four different lamp forms.
Under the canopy stands the font (design number 7), 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is 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 offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal which was a crane is missing from the current structure.
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.
- 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
- Fret, running or repeated ornament
- 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
- 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