Blog Archives

Tipton Fountain

Location: Sandwell, Staffordshire, England

The canopy is all that remains of a drinking fountain located in Victoria Park, Tipton. It was commissioned by Mr. George Monnington Waring and his wife Elizabeth to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. It was unveiled on June 29, 1901 and was listed as a Grade II historic building on 29th September 1987.

The structure was restored in 2014 by Dorothea Restorations. Repairs were made and missing items recast before being gilded and painted.

The canopied drinking fountain was design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings which display lunettes with an image of a cranes and two memorial shields: Presented To The Inhabitants Of Tipton By Mr & Mrs G M Waring In Commemoration Of Their Golden Wedding And Residence In The Parish For Upwards Of 50 Years, April 1901.

On each side arch faceplates provide a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament, and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The openwork iron canopy is surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy the standard design was font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve thus allowing for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Glossary

  • 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
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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

Sele Fountain

Location: Hexham, Northumberland, England

The Sele drinking fountain is located within 250m of the principal entrance of Hexham Park. The fountain, erected in September 1899, was commissioned by the Abbey Church of England Temperance Society.

Although recorded as a Grade II historic building on 18 May 1976, the structure was vandalized; griffin sculptures were removed and the crane which stood in the centre of the font disappeared. It was later reproduced by Dorothea Restorations in 1993.

In 2013 an evaluation of the fountain by Lost Art Limited revealed evidence of deterioration in the cast iron structure and that several parts of the original structure were missing. It was dismantled in 2015 for restoration funded by the Northumberland County Council.

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 image of a crane. 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 short post appears to be the remnant pillar of a lantern, the missing the finial.

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 is a crane.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Glossary

  • 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

 

 

Queen Victoria Fountain

Location: Bristol, England

The fountain set into the exterior wall of Market House on St. Nicholas Street, Bristol, was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 40th birthday in 1859. It was donated by Mr. Budgett, a wealthy Bristol grocery merchant.

The fountain was cast 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 arch which contains the drinking well. On either side of the well are cherubs holding daffodils on high whilst standing on acanthus foliage. An inscription is visible on the arch: Wills Brothers Sculpt London. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below.

Listed a Grade II building in 1977 the painted structure was refreshed regularly by Mr. John Hewett of Whitehall in Bristol. The iron back plate and basin were damaged in 1982, and the basin was rebuilt in a concrete/resin mixture.

The fountain was restored at the behest of Bristol City Council and undertaken by Dorothea Restorations. Damage to the fountain was repaired, new cast iron pieces were fitted, and the structure was cleaned.  The original paint had deteriorated over time and after consultation with the City it was repainted in an acceptable colour palette.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Image Sources

http://www.dorothearestorations.com/case-studies/st-nicholas-fountain–bristol

http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-380491-drinking-fountain-

https://www.facebook.com/TheDrawingRoomDesign