Location: Dunoon, Argyll & Bute, Scotland
On Marine Parade at Hunters Quay and Kirn there are two cast iron drinking fountain canopies. Although the canopy at Kirn has been restored both structures have lost original elements.
The structure at Hunters Quay is situated at James Street near Jim Crow Rock.
Three of four medallions are missing and the fourth contains a dedication shield. Only two of four original griffins remain, and the space beneath the canopy where the font once stood is empty.
The Kirn fountain is located between Kirn Brae and Stewart Street.
Photographs of the original structure show elements that are now missing such as griffins on each corner of the canopy, the finial at the top of the dome, and the font which has been replaced with a planter. A dedication plaque states, The Gift Of / The Directors / Of The Kirn Pier / 1877.
Within an image from 1899 the font beneath the canopy is #7 with a dog trough at ground level. Lion head medallions are visible and the structure terminates in a gas lamp finial.
By 1903 the font has been replaced with an enclosed pillar model.
The gas lamp holder no longer exists in 1907 and has been replaced with what appears to be the model of an owl. One of the lion medallions is missing.
Pictorial evidence between the years of 1907 and 1938 identifies that the structure remained to have a pillar font with owl finial atop the dome.
These drinking fountains, customized from design number 8 in Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue, were 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 within each lunette host a lion mascaron and a dedication shield. 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 is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial was a gas lantern.
Under the canopy stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief was 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 offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The fountain was operated by pressing a button.
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
- 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
- Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
- Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
- Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal