Location: Clones, Co. Monaghan, Northern Ireland
A cast iron canopy and drinking fountain located at the market area known as the Diamond was installed in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee which celebrated 60 years of her reign.
Circa 1965, a brewery truck reversed into it doing irreparable damage. Three of the four griffins which were positioned above each column were rescued and incorporated on top of a wall leading from Roslea Road to the Roman Catholic Church. Although the font basin still remained in situ in 1967, all remnants of the drinking fountain are now lost.
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 triple tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.
The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with a profile image of Queen Victoria and a dedication shield; Erected By / Public Subscription / To Commemorate / The / Diamond Jubilee / Of / Queen Victoria / 1897. On each side arch faceplates provided 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 offered decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals were floral ornament. The openwork iron canopy was surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.
Under the canopy stood 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 support 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 allowed 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.
- Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- 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
- 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