Location: Battersea Park, London, England
Although it was decided in 1845 to create a public park in Battersea Fields, the park was not officially opened until 1858. William Cowper who was the First Commissioner of Works was enthusiastic in his efforts to create beautiful gardens. He also commissioned sculpture and architecture within the park including a cast iron Gothic style drinking fountain at the end of the avenue of English elms.
The fountain commissioned in 1860 was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon who was a 19th-century English Gothic Revival architect. It was manufactured by Francis Alfred Skidmore of Coventry, a British metalworker who was influenced by the Gothic Revival style, a movement characterised by its use of medieval designs and styles. It was erected in a prominent position at the east end of Central Avenue.
This ‘lost’ fountain (it is unknown when or why it was removed) was seated on an octagonal granite plinth with 6 columns from the capitals of which arches formed to create an open fretwork canopy of foliate design which was intended to be gilded. An enamelled basin offered drinking water.
In 1859 the Ecclesiologist Society examined the design of a fountain by S. S. Teulon which was to be placed by the Board of Works in Battersea Park. It was described as ‘happily enough borrowed from the old-well covers; but the design is somewhat needlessly spiky, and hirsute.’ (The definition of hirsute is hairy which seems an odd word to describe a metal structure.)
- Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
- Fret, running or repeated ornament
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.