Queen Victoria Wall Fountain

Location: London, Surrey, England

In the grounds of Hampton Court Palace a 19th-century drinking fountain is set into the border wall of the Broad Walk which is in front of the eastern façade of the palace. It was installed soon after Queen Victoria opened the Palace and Gardens to the public in 1838.

The fountain was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed trefoil arch which contains the drinking well. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below. A metal cup was chained to the right side of the shield. On either side of the well are seated putti holding daffodils on high whilst resting on acanthus foliage.

Two inscriptions were engraved: on the arch, Wills Brothers Sculpt London; and on the lower edge of the structure, Cast By The Coalbrookdale Co.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes

 

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