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.
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.
- 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