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the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951), rises 140 meters (459 feet) above Lake Geneva
The Court of the Main Canal, Generalife Palace, the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain ( 1302-1309). The crossing jets of water were added later.

A fountain (from the Latin "fons" or "fontis", a source or spring) is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air either to supply drinking water or for decorative or dramatic effect.

Fountains were originally purely functional, connected to springs or aqueducts and used to provide drinking water and water for bathing, but in ancient Rome they began to be used as decorative elements in gardens and courtyards. The art of fountains reached its peak in the fountains of the palaces of Moorish Spain in the 14th century; in the Italian Renaissance garden in the 15th and 16th century; in the fountains of the Gardens of Versailles in the seventeenth century; and the decorative fountains of Rome in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.[1]

Fountains today may be practical, such as drinking fountains and village fountains which provide clean drinking water; or designed for recreation, such as splash fountains, where residents can cool off in summer; or ornamental, decorating city parks and squares and home gardens.

Fountains may be wall fountains or free-standing. In fountains sheets of water may flow over varied surfaces of stone, concrete or metal. Basins may overflow from one into another, or the overflow may imitate a natural cascade. Many fountains are located in small, artificial, ornamental ponds, basins and formal garden pools, and often they include sculpture.

Until the 20th century fountains depended upon gravity to make water spout or spray in the air, but modern fountains can use mechancial pumps. A famous example is the Jet d'Eau in Lake Geneva, which shoots water 140 meters in the air. The highest such fountain in the world is King Fahd's Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which rises 260 meters (853 feet) above the Red Sea.[2]. The musical fountain combines moving jets of water, colored lights and recorded music, controlled by a computer, for dramatic effects.

Contents

History of fountains

Mesopotamian fountains

In Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), the cradle of civilization, the use of fountains date as far back as the 3rd millenium BC. An early example is preserved in a carved Babylonian basin, dating back to circa 3000 B.C., found at Tello, Lagash. An ancient Assyrian fountain "discovered in the gorge of the Comel River consists of basins cut in solid rock and descending in steps to the stream." The water was led from small conduits.[3]

Ancient Greek fountains

Attic Greek vase from South Italy, about 480 B.C. showing Polyxena filling a vessel from a fountain (The Louvre)

Whether a civilization had fountains depended mostly upon whether its water supply was above or below the level of its cities. The ancient Egyptians had ingenious systems for hoisting water up from the Nile for drinking and irrigation, so they apparently had no need for fountains. The Romans and Greeks brought water down from the mountains via aqueducts; since the source was higher than the outlet, their cities had fountains which spouted or poured water into basins as sources of drinking water. - Fountains existed in Athens, Corinth, and other ancient Greek cities in the 6th century B.C. as the terminating points of aqueducts which brought water from springs and rivers into the cities. In the 6th century B.C. the Athenian ruler Peisistratos built the main fountain of Athens, the Enneacrounos, in the Agora, or main square. It had nine large cannons, or spouts, which supplied drinking water to local residents.[4]

Greek fountains were made of stone or marble, with water flowing through bronze pipes and emerging from the mouth of a sculpted mask that represented the head of a lion or the muzzle of an animal. Most Greek fountains flowed by simple gravity, but they also discovered how to use water pressure and the principle of a siphon to make water jet or spout, as seen in pictures on Greek vases (see illustration).[5].

Ancient Roman fountains

Spout of a Roman street fountain, Pompeii (First Century AD)
Reconstruction of a Roman courtyard fountain in Pompeii (First century AD)
The Fontana della Pigna ("pinecone") (First Century AD.

The Romans, with an extensive and sophisticated system of aqueducts used to supply their drinking water, irrigation water and water for Roman baths, advanced the art and technology of fountain design. Roman engineers used lead pipes instead of bronze. The excavations at Pompeii, which revealed the city as it was when it was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, uncovered free-standing fountains and basins placed at intervals along city streets, fed by siphoning water upwards from lead pipes under the street.

The excavations of Pompeii also showed that the homes of wealthy Romans often had a small fountain in the atrium, or interior courtyard, with water coming from city water supply and spouting into a small bowl or basin.(See illustration).

Rome itself was filled with fountains. According to Sextus Julius Frontinus, the Roman consul who was named curator aquarum or guardian of the water of Rome in 98 A.D., Rome had nine aqueducts which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins, not counting the water supplied to the Imperial household, baths and owners of private villas. Each of the major fountains was connected to two different aqueducts, in case one was shut down for service.[6]

The Romans were able to make fountains jet water into the air, by using the pressure of water flowing from a distant and higher source of water to create hydraulic head, or force. Illustrations of fountains in gardens spouting water are found on wall paintings in Rome from the first century B.C., and in the villas of Pompeii.[7]. The Villa of Hadrian in Tivoli featured a large swimming basin with jets of water. Pliny the Younger described the banquet room of a Roman villa where a fountain began to jet water when visitors sat on a marble seat. The water flowed into a basin, where the courses of a banquet were served in floating dishes shaped like boats.[8].

One original Roman fountain can still be seen today. The Fontana della Pigna is a large bronze pine cone, from the 1st Century A.D., which originally spouted water from the top. It originally stood next to the Temple of Isis in the Roman Forum then was moved to the courtyard of the old St. Peter's Basilica, where it was seen and described by Dante. In the 15th century it was moved to a niche in the courtyard between the new Vatican Palace and the Belvedere Palace, on the Cortile della Pigna.

Medieval fountains

The Garden of Eden as depicted in the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1411–1416) with a fountain in the center
Lavabo at Le Thoronet Abbey, Provence, (12th century)
An ivory casket carving showing Tristan and Iseult next to a fountain (1340–50) (The Louvre)
Fontana Maggiore, Perugia (1278)

During the Middle Ages, Roman aqueducts were wrecked or fell into decay, and few fountains continued working. Fountains were found mainly in the cloisters of monasteries or the small enclosed gardens of the nobility.

Fountains in the Middle Ages were associated with the source of life, purity, wisdom, innocence, and the Garden of Eden.[9]. In illuminated manuscripts like the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1411–1416), the Garden of Eden was shown with a graceful gothic fountain in the center. (see illustration).

The cloister of a monastery was supposed to be a replica of the Garden of Eden, protected from the outside world. Simple fountains, called lavabos, were placed inside Medieval monasteries such as Le Thoronet Abbey in Provence and were used for ritual washing before religious services.[10]

Fountains were also found in the enclosed medieval jardins d'amour, "gardens of courtly love" - ornamental gardens used for courtship and relaxion. The medieval romance The Roman de la Rose describes a fountain in the center of an enclosed garden, feeding small streams bordered by flowers and fresh herbs.

Some Medieval fountains, like the cathedrals of their time, illustrated biblical stories, local history and the virtues of their time. The Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, dedicated in 1278, is decorated with stone carvings representing prophets and saints, allegories of the arts, labors of the months, the signs of the zodiac, and scenes from Genesis and Roman history.[11].

Medieval fountains, in the grim times of the Middle Ages, could also provide amusement. The gardens of the Counts of Artois at the Chateau de Herdin, built in 1295, contained famous fountains, called Les Merveilles de Herdin which could be triggered to drench surprised visitors.[12]

Moorish fountains

The Fountain of the Court of the Lions in the Alhambra (14th century)

The palaces of Moorish Spain, particularly the Alhambra in Granada, had famous fountains. The patio of the Sultan in the gardens of Generalife in Granada (1319) featured spouts of water pouring into a basin, with channels which irrigated orange and myrtle trees. The garden was modified over the centuries - the jets of water which cross the canal today were added in the 19th century.[13] The fountain in the Court of the Lions of the Alhambra, built from 1362–1391, is a large vasque mounted on twelve stone statues of lions. Water spouts upward in the vasque and pours from the mouths of the lions, filling four channels dividing the courtyard into quadrants.[14] The basin dates to the 14th century, but the lions spouting water are believed to be older, dating to the 11th century.[15]

Persian, Mughal and Ottoman fountains

The Fountain of Ahmed III, (1728), in front of the gates of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul

Ancient Persian gardens, dating back as far as 4000 BC, are depicted on decorated pottery, and had the cross shape which became the characteristic of the later Islamic garden. Roman soldiers who campaigned in the east brought back descriptions of Persian gardens, and they had some influence on the appearance of Roman gardens.[8] Persian gardens had underground channels and rectangular basins fed by wells, but it is not known if they had fountains which jetted or spouted water.

After the Arab invasions of the 7th century, the traditional design of the Persian garden was used in the Islamic garden. Persian gardens after the 7th century were traditionally enclosed by walls and were designed to represent paradise; the Persian word for enclosed space is 'pairi-daeza.' The chahar bagh, or paradise garden, was laid out in the form of a cross, with four channels representing the rivers of paradise, dividing the four parts of world.[16]

In the 9th century, the Banū Mūsā brothers, a trio of Persian inventors, designed the earliest known wind-powered fountains.[17] Their Book of Ingenious Devices described the construction of several wind-powered fountains, one of which incorporated a worm-and-pinion gear.[18]

The design of the Islamic garden spread throughout the Islamic world, from Moorish Spain to the Mughal Empire in India. The Shalimar Gardens (Lahore) built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1641, were ornamented with 410 fountains, which fed into a large basin, canal and marble pools.

In the Ottoman Empire, rulers often built fountains next to mosques so worshippers could do their ritual washing, Examples include the Fountain of Qasim Pasha (1527), Temple Mount, Jerusalem, an ablution and drinking fountain built during the Ottoman reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. and the Fountain of Ahmed III (1728), at the Topkapı Palace, Istanbul. Palaces themselves often had small decorated fountains, which provided drinking water, cooled the air, and made a pleasant splashing sound. One surviving example is the Fountain of Tears (1764) at the Bakhchisarai Palace, in Crimea; which was made famous by a poem of Alexander Pushkin.

Renaissance fountains (15th–17th centuries)

The Santa Maria in Trastevere fountain (1472)
Fountain of Neptune, Piazza della Signoria, Florence (1560-1575)
Gardens with fountains of the Villa Medici at Castello
The Fontana dell'Ovato ("Oval Fountain") at the Villa d'Este at Tivoli (1572)
The Organ Fountain at the Villa d'Este, Tivoli

In the 14th century, Italian humanist scholars began to rediscover and translate forgotten Roman texts on architecture by Vitruvius, on hydraulics by Hero of Alexandria, and descriptions of Roman gardens and fountains by Pliny the Younger Pliny the Elder, and Varro. The treatise on architecture, De re aedificatoria, by Leon Battista Alberti, which described in detail Roman villas, gardens and fountains, became the guidebook for Renaissance builders.[19].

In Rome Pope Nicholas V (1397–1455), himself a scholar who commissioned hundreds of translations of ancient Greek classics into Latin, decided to embellish the city and make it a worthy capital of the Christian world. In 1453 he began to rebuild the Acqua Vergine, the ruined Roman aqueduct which had brought clean drinking water to the city from eight miles away. He also decided to revive the Roman custom of marking the arrival point of an aqueduct with a mostra, a grand commemorative fountain. He commissioned the architect Leon Battista Alberti to built a wall fountain where the Trevi Fountain is now located. The aqueduct he restored, with modifications and extensions, eventually supplied water to the Trevi Fountain and the famous baroque fountains in the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona.[20]

One of the first new fountains to be built in Rome during the Renaissance was the fountain in the piazza in front of the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, (1472), which was placed on the site of an earlier Roman fountain. Its design, based on an earlier Roman model, with a circular vasque on a pedestal pouring water into a basin below, became the model for many other fountains in Rome, and eventually for fountains in other cities, from Paris to London.[21]

In 1503, Pope Julius II decided to recreate a classical pleasure garden in the same place. The new garden, called the Cortile del Belvedere, was designed by Donato Bramante. The garden was decorated with the Pope's famous collection of classical statues, and with fountains. The Venetian Ambassador wrote in 1523, "...On one side of the garden is a most beautiful loggia, at one end of which is a lovely fountain that irrigates the orange trees and the rest of the garden by a little canal in the center of the loggia...[22] The original garden was split in two by the construction of the Vatican Library in the 16th century, but a new fountain by Carlo Maderno was built in the Cortile del Belvedere, with a jet of water shooting up from a circular stone bowl on an octagonal pedestal in a large basin.[23]

In 1537, in Florence, Cosimo I de' Medici, who had become ruler of the city at the age of only 17, also decided to launch a program of aqueduct and fountain building. The city had previously gotten all its drinking water from wells and reservoirs of rain water, which meant that there was little water or water pressure to run fountains. Cosimo built an aqueduct large enough for the first continually-running fountain in Florence, the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria (1560–1567). This fountain featured an enormous white marble statue of Neptune, resembling Cosimo, by sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati.[24]

Under the Medicis, fountains were not just sources of water, but advertisements of the power and benevolence of the city's rulers. They became central elements not only of city squares, but of the new Italian Renaissance garden. The great Medici Villa at Castello, built for Cosimo by Benedetto Varchi, featured two monumental fountains on its central axis; one showing with two bronze figures representing Hercules slaying Antaeus, symbolizing the victory of Cosimo over his enemies; and a second fountain, in the middle of a circular labyrinth of cypresses, laurel, myrtle and roses, had a statue bronze statue by Giambologna showed the goddess Venus wringing her hair. The planet Venus was governed by Capricorn, which was the emblem of Cosimo; the fountain symbolized that he was the absolute master of Florence.[25]

By the middle Renaissance, fountains had become a form of theater, with cascades and jets of water coming from marble statues of animals and mythological figures. The most famous fountains of this kind were found in the Villa d'Este (1550–1572), at Tivoli near Rome, which featured a hillside of basins, fountains and jets of water, as well as a fountain which produced music by pouring water into a chamber, forcing air into a series of flute-like pipes. The gardens also featured giochi d'acqua, water jokes, hidden fountains which suddenly soaked visitors.[26]

Front and side views of the Fontaine des Innocents (1546–1549) in its original form
The Medici Fountain, Paris (1630)

The Italian Renaissance fountain was introduced into France by Henry II of France (1519–1559) whose wife, Catherine de Medici, was from the same family that had built the great fountains of Florence.

Between 1546-1549, the merchants of Paris built the first Renaissance-style fountain in Paris, the Fontaine des Innocents, to commemorate the ceremonial entry of the King into the city. The fountain, which originally stood against the wall of the church of the Holy Innocents, as rebuilt several times and now stands in a square near Les Halles. It is the oldest fountain in Paris.[27]

Henry constructed an Italian-style garden with a fountain shooting a vertical jet of water for his favorite mistress, Diana de Poitiers, next to the Château de Chenonceau (1556–1559). At the royal Château de Fontainebleau, he built another fountain with a bronze statue of Diane, goddess of the hunt, modeled after Diane de Poitiers.[28].

Later, after the death of Henry II, his widow, Catherine de Medici, expelled Diana de Poitiers from Chenonceau and built her own fountain and garden there.

King Henry IV of France made an important contribution to French fountains by inviting an Italian hydraulic engineer, Tomasso Francini, who had worked on the fountains of the villa at Pratalino, to make fountains in France. Francini became a French citizen in 1600, built the Medici Fountain, and during the rule of the young King Louis XIII, he was raised to the position of Intendant général des Eaux et Fontaines of the KIng, a position which was hereditary. His descendants became the royal fountain designers for Louis XIII and for Louis XIV at Versailles.[29]

In 1630 another Medici, Marie de Medici, the widow of Henry IV, built her own monumental fountain in Paris, the Medici Fountain, in the garden of the Palais du Luxembourg. That fountain still exists today, with a long basin of water and statues added in 1866.[30]

Baroque fountains (17th-18th century)

Fountains of Rome

Fountains of St. Peter's Square by Carlo Maderno (1614) and Bernini (1677)
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini, (1648-51) the River Ganges
The Trevi Fountain (1730-1762)

The 17th and 18th century was a golden age for fountains in Rome, which began with the reconstruction of ruined Roman aqueducts and the construction by the Popes of mostra, or display fountains, to mark their termini. The new fountains were expressions of the new Baroque art, which was officially promoted by the Catholic Church as a way to win popular support against the Protestant Reformation; the Council of Trent had declared in the 16th century that the Church should counter austere and puritanical Protestantism with art that was lavish, animated and emotional. The fountains of Rome, like the paintings of Rubens, were examples of the principles of Baroque art. They were crowded with allegorical figures, and filled with emotion and movement. In these fountains, sculpture became the principal element, and the water was used simply to animate and decorate the sculptures. They, like baroque gardens, were "a visual representation of confidence and power." [31]

The first of the Fountains of St. Peter's Square, by Carlo Maderno, (1614) was one of the earliest Baroque fountains in Rome, made to compliment the lavish Baroque facade he designed for St. Peter's Basilica behind it. It was fed by water from the Paola aqueduct, restored in 1612, whose source was 266 feet above sea level, which meant it could shoot water twenty feet up from the fountain. Its form, with a large circular vasque on a pedestal pouring water into a basin and an inverted vasque above it spouting water, was imitated two centuries later in the Fountains of the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

The Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini (1642), by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is a masterpiece of Baroque sculpture, representing Triton, half-man and half-fish, blowing his horn to calm the waters, following a text by the Roman poet Ovid in the Metamorphoses. The Triton fountain benefited from its location in a valley, and the fact that it was fed by the Aqua Felice aqueduct, restored in 1587, which arrived in Rome at an elevation of 194 feet above sea level (fasl), a difference of 130 feet in elevation between the source and the fountain, which meant that the water from this fountain jetted sixteen feet straight up into the air from the conch shell of the triton.[32]

The Piazza Navona became a grand theater of water, with three fountains, built in a line on the site of the Stadium of Domitian. The fountains at either end are by Giacomo della Porta; the Neptune fountain to the north, (1572) shows the God of the Sea spearing an octopus, surrounded by tritons, sea horses and mermaids. At the southern end is Il Moro, possibly also a figure of Neptune riding a fish in a conch shell. In the center is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, (The Fountain of the Four Rivers) (1648–51), a highly theatrical fountain by Bernini, with statues representing rivers from the four continents; the Nile, Danube, Plate River and Ganges. Over the whole structure is a 54-foot Egyptian obelisque, crowned by a cross with the emblem of the Pamphili famiy, representing Pope Innocent X, whose family palace was on the piazza. The theme of a fountain with statues symbolizing great rivers was later used in the Place de la Concorde (1836–40) and in the Fountain of Neptune in the Alexanderplatz in Berlin (1891). The fountains of Piazza Navona had one drawback- their water came from the Acqua Vergine, which had only a 23-foot drop from the source to the fountains, which meant the water could only fall or trickle downwards, not jet very high upwards.[33]

The Trevi Fountain is the largest and most spectacular of Rome's fountains, designed to glorify the three different Popes who created it. It was built beginning in 1730 at the terminus of the reconstructed Acqua Vergine aqueduct, on the site of Renaissance fountain by Leon Battista Alberti. It was the work of architect Nicola Salvi and the successive project of Pope Clement XII, Pope Benedict XIV and Pope Clement XIII, whose emblems and inscriptions are carried on the attic story, entablature and central niche. The central figure is Oceanus, the personification of all the seas and oceans, in an oyster-shell chariot, surrounded by Tritons and Sea Nymphs.

In fact, the fountain had very little water pressure, because the source of water was, like the source for the Piazza Navona fountains, the Acqua Vergine, with a 23-foot drop. Salvi compensated for this problem by sinking the fountain down into the ground, and by carefully designing the cascade so that the water churned and tumbled, to add movement and drama.[34]. Wrote historians Maria Ann Conelli and Marilyn Symmes, "On many levels the Trevi altered the appearance, function and intent of fountains and was a watershed for future designs."[35]

Fountains of Versailles

The Bassin d'Apollon as it appeared in 1714
The Fontaine Latone (1668–70)

Beginning in 1662, King Louis XIV of France began to build a new kind of garden, the Garden à la française, or French formal garden, at the Palace of Versailles. In this garden, the fountain played a central role. He used fountains to demonstrate the power of man over nature, and to illustrate the grandeur of his rule. In the Gardens of Versailles, instead of falling naturally into a basin, water was shot into the sky, or formed into the shape of a fan or bouquet. Dancing water was combined with music and fireworks to form a grand spectacle. These fountains were the work of the descendants of Tommaso Francini, the Italian hydraulic engineer who had come to France during the time of Henry IV and built the Medici Fountain and the Fountain of Diana at Fontainebleau.

Two fountains were the centerpieces of the Gardens of Versailles, both taken from the myths about Apollo, the sun god, the emblem of Louis XIV, and both symbolizing his power. The Fontaine Latone (1668–70) designed by André Le Nôtre and sculpted byGaspard and Balthazar Marsy, represents the story of how the peasants of Lycia tormented Latona and her children, Diana and Apollo, and were punished by being turned into frogs. This was a reminder of how French peasants had abused Louis's mother, Anne of Austria, during the uprising called the Fronde in the 1650s. When the fountain is turned on, sprays of water pour down on the peasants, who are frenzied as they are transformed into creatures.[36]

The other centerpiece of the Gardens, at the intersection of the main axes of the Gardens of Versailles, is the Bassin d'Apollon (1668–71), designed by Charles Le Brun and sculpted by Jean Baptiste Tuby. This statue shows a theme also depicted in the painted decoration in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles: Apollo in his chariot about to rise from the water, announced by Tritons with seashell trumpets. Historians Mary Anne Conelli and Marilyn Symmes wrote, "Designed for dramatic effect and to flatter the king, the fountain is oriented so that the Sun God rises from the west and travels east toward the chateau, in contradiction to nature." [37]

Besides these two monumental fountains, the Gardens over the years contained dozens of other fountains, including thirty-nine animal fountains in the labyrinth depicting the fables of Jean La Fontaine.

There were so many fountains at Versailles that it was impossible to have them all running at once; when Louis XIV made his promenades, his fountain-tenders turned on the fountains ahead of him and turned off those behind him. Louis built an enormous pumping station, the Machine de Marly, with fourteen water wheels and 253 pumps to raise the water three hundred feet from the River Seine, and even attempted to divert the River Eure to provide water for his fountains, but the water supply was never enough.[38]

(See Gardens of Versailles)

Fountains of St. Petersburg

Samson and the Lion fountain at Peterhof Palace, Russia

In Russia, beginning in 1709, Peter the Great began constructing a Garden à la française with fountains at Peterhof Palace, alongside the Gulf of Finland, near his new capital of St. Petersburg. After visiting France in 1717 and seeing the gardens at Versailles, Marly and Fontainebleau, he made its central feature a water cascade, modeled after the cascade at the Château de Marly of Louis XIV, built in 1684. In 1800-1802 a fountain was added, depicting Samson prying open the mouth of a lion, representing Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War in 1721. The garden also contained hidden fountains which could be turned on to drench unsuspecting visitors, a popular feature of the Italian Renaissance garden. The fountains were fed by reservoirs in the upper garden, while the Samson fountain was fed by a specially-constructed aqueduct four kilometers in length.

19th century fountains

London fountains

Fountain in Trafalgar Square, (1845).
The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Picadilly Circus, London. (1893)

In the 19th century, major European cities, led by London and Paris, began to use aqueducts, artesian wells and steam pumps to supply drinking water directly to homes. Fountains gradually ceased to be sources of drinking water and became public monuments in city squares and parks, honoring national heroes and events.

The fountains in Trafalgar Square were not part of the original design of the square, which was created beginning in 1826 to commemorate the victory of Lord Nelson over the fleet of Napoleon Bonaparte 1805. The fountains were added in 1845 by architect Charles Barry, famous for designing the Houses of Parliament, to break up the vast open space of the square and also to reduce the space available for unruly street demonstrations. The fountains were powered by a steam engine behind the National Gallery, which pumped water that came from an Artesian Well[39].

The original fountains were replaced in 1938-47 with two new fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with sculptures by Sir Charles Wheeler and William McMillian, as monuments to two British naval heroes of the First World War, Lord John Rushworth Jellicoe and Lord David Beatty. They were rebuilt again, with new pumps and lighting, in 2009.

The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Picadilly Circus, London.by Alfred Gilbert, features an aluminum statue of Anteros representing "The Angel of Christian Charity." It was built in 1893 to honor the British philanthropist Lord Shaftesbury, but instead it scandalized Londoners, who thought it was a statue of Eros.

Paris fountains (1800–1900)

The Fountain of the Chateau d'Eau, (1809-1812)
Fountain in Place de la Concorde (1836-1840)
Fontaine Place André Malraux, formerly place du Théâtre Français, (1867-1874), Gabriel Davioud, architect.
A Wallace fountain, Pont Neuf, (1872), one of 66 such cast-iron fountains placed around Paris by British industrialist and temperance activist Sir Richard Wallace.

The supply of water and the building of fountains in Paris was a subject of prime concern for the new First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, beginning in 1799.[40] In 1802 Napoleon ordered the construction of the first canal bringing water from a river outside the city, the canal d'Ourcq, which was finished in 1822. Napoleon also started construction of the Canal Saint-Denis (finished in 1821), and the Canal Saint-Martin (finished in 1825) which brought enough water for both drinking fountains and decorative fountains.[41]

Napoleon then turned his attention to the fountains. In a decree issued May 2, 1806, he announced that it was his wish "to do something grand and useful for Paris" and proposed building fifteen new fountains. He also ordered the cleaning, repair or rebuilding of the many old fountains which had fallen into ruin, such as the Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons and the Medici Fountain. His engineers built new fountains in the city's major outdoor markets, and installed several hundred bornes-fontaines, simple stone blocks with a water tap, all over the city. In 1812, he issued a decree that the distribution of water from fountains would be free, and anyone who speculated in drinking water would be severely punished.[42]

The early Napoleonic fountains, built before the canals were finished, were modest in scale and supplied with a limited amount of water, which poured through the traditional masquerons, or spouts. The later fountains by Napoleon, including the fountain in the Place de Vosges and the Chateau d'eau, were not used primarily for drinking water, and had water shooting into the air and cascading from the vasques into the basins below.[43]

The fountain of the Chateau d'eau on boulevard Bondi (1812) was the first fountain in Paris where the water itself, and not the sculpture, was the chief decorative element.[44] The Chateau d'eau fountain was also the first monumental fountain in Paris to feature two circular vasques, or stone basins, one above the other on a column, with water overflowing the basins and falling into a larger circular basin below. The novelty and scale of this fountain made it a popular promenade destination of Parisians. The fountain was moved in 1867, and today is located in front of the former Halle from the demolished Paris market of Les Halles located in la Villette.

The constitutional monarchy of King Louis-Philippe (1830–1848) was a brilliant age for Parisian fountains. The new Prefet of the Seine, Rambuteau, ordered the construction of two hundred kilometers of new water pipes and the installation of 1700 borne-fontaines, the simple blocks with water taps introduced by Napoleon. Thanks to these new fountains, which supplied drinking water to the population, the city's architects had the freedom to design new monumental fountains that were purely ornamental in the city's squares.[45]

The Fontaines de la Concorde (1836–1840) in the Place de la Concorde are the most famous of the fountains built during the time of Louis-Philippe, and came to symbolize the fountains of Paris. They were designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff, a student of the neoclassical sculptor Charles Percier at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, who had served as the official Architect of Festivals and Ceremonies for the deposed King, and had spent two years studying the architecture and fountains of Italy. Hittorff's two fountains are both on martime themes, because of their proximity to the Ministry of Navy on the Place de la Concorde, and to the Seine. Their form and arrangement, on a north south axis aligned with the obelisque of Luxor and the Rue Royale; were influenced by the arrangement of the fountains in the Piazza Navona and Piazza San Pietro in Rome.

Several notable fountains were built in this period by the architect Louis Visconti, who later because famous as the architect of Napoleon's Tomb in the Invalides. His major works are the Fontaine Louvois (1839), in the new Place Louvois; with four female figures representing the rivers Seine, Loire, Garonne and Saône; the Fontaine Cuvier (1840–1846), dedicated to Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), the naturalist, and pioneer of paleontology and comparative anatomy, located near the Jardin des Plantes and the museum of natural history, where Cuvier had worked;[46]; the Fontaine Molière. (1841–44), near the site of the original theater of the Comédie Française, which features a statue of the playwright and two statues representing Light Comedy and Serious Comedy; and the Fontaine de la Place Sulpice, (1843–1848), in front of the church of Saint-Sulpice, which honored four famous religious orators of the 17th century; Boussuet, Fénelon, Fléchier, and Massillon.

The Second French Republic (1848–1850) and subsequent Second Empire of Louis-Napoleon (1851–1870) was also a glorious age for Paris fountains. One of his highest priorities as Emperor was improving the quality of the water supply. At the time Paris had about sixty fountains supplying drinking water for the population, and a dozen fountains which were purely ornamental.[47] Under his new prefet of the Seine, Baron Haussmann, and his new chief of the waters of Paris, Belgrand, the Paris water system was reconstructed so that water from springs, brought by acqueducts, was used exclusively for drinking water, while less healthy river water was used for washing the streets, watering gardens and parks, and for fountains. Historic fountains, including the Medici Fountain and Fontaine des Innocents, were rebuilt and moved to new locations. New fountains were built to decorate Haussmann's new squares and boulevards.

Most of the new monumental fountains built during the reign of Louis Napoleon were the work of a single architect, Gabriel Davioud. Davioud was architect of the service de promenades et plantations of the prefecture of the Seine. He was responsible for the design of many of the squares, gates, benches, pavilions, and other decorative architecture of the Second Empire. His most famous work is Fontaine Saint-Michel (1860). It was intended be the chief ornament of the enlarged Place Pont-Saint-Michel created by the new boulevard Sebastopol-rive gauche, now Boulevard Saint-Michel). Davioud's first design for the fountain had a statue of a woman symbolizing peace. This was changed to a statue of Napoleon Bonaparte, but when aroused opposition from enemies of Louis Napoleon, it became a statue of the Archangel Michael wrestling with the devil. Nine sculptors worked on the diffferent figures in the composition. It was the last monumental fountain in Paris built against a wall.[48]

After Louis Napoleon fell from power in 1870, the new government of the Third Republic kept Davioud as the chief architect of the city's fountains. His first task was to repair the damage caused to the fountains by the German siege of Paris and the fighting during the suppression of the Paris Commune, which had destroyed the Tuilieries Palace and the Hôtel de Ville.

Davioud completed two monumental fountains begun under the Second Empire. The most famous is the Fontaine de l'Observatoire, located between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Paris Observatory, which features four figures representing the four corners of the world holding up a celestial sphere. The sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Carpeaux, who had earlier made the sculptures of La Danse on the facade of the Paris Opera; aused a scandal with the realistic and expressive figures of the statues in the fountain, much different from the neo-classical sculptures of early nineteenth century.

Davioud also created two of the best-loved sculptures in Paris, the two fountains in the place André Malreaux, between the Louvre and the Comédie-Française, one a statue of a sea nymph and a one a river nymph, (1874).

Paris was also home to the Wallace fountains, donated to the city in 1872 by a British millionaire, temperance advocate and philanthropist, Sir Richard Wallace, who had spent much of his youth in Paris. Following a program he had already begun in London, he donated fifty cast-iron drinking fountains to the city of Paris to give the working classes a free source of water and to turn them from drinking alcohol. The sculptor of the fountains was Charles-Auguste Lebourg, a student of François Rude. The fountains were a popular success, and new ones were still being installed until the beginning of the First World War.[49].

Fountains in the United States (1800-1900)

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, New York (1873)
The Fountain of Neptune at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is by French-trained sculptor Roland Hinton Perry. (1895).

The first monumental fountains in the United States were built to mark the termini of aqueducts bringing fresh drinking water into New York City. A cholera epidemic in 1832 and a disastrous fire in 1835 persuaded the government of New York City to build an aqueduct to bring abundant fresh water into the city. The Croton Dam, aqueduct and reservoir in New York were finished in 1841, bringing water forty miles from the Croton River to New York City. The first fountain in the U.S., the Groton Fountain in City Hall Park, was turned on on October 14, 1842, and jetted water fifty feet into the air.[50] A second fountain in Union Square was also connected to the system. The first fountains were very simple, without sculpture, simply spouting water up into the air. The fountains no longer exist, though vestiges of the original water system remain.[51]

In 1848 Boston completed its own new water system, an aqueduct from Lake Cochituate twenty miles to the Boston Common, where the first fountain was located. A parade and festival were held to mark the opening of the fountain on October 25, 1848. The ceremony included schoolchildren singing an ode written by American poet James Russell Lowell for the event. The ode began:

"My name is Water: I have sped through strange dark ways untried before, By pure desire of friendship led, Cochituate's Ambassador: He sends four gifts by me, Long life, health, peace, and purity."[52]

The first American fountains were simple and functional. Later, in the 1850s, new more decorative fountains appeared as part of a nationwide effort to beautify American cities by building parks, squares and fountains, inspired by European models.

The Bethesda Fountain was created to adorn New York City's new Central Park, which had been begun in 1858 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, to create a vast natural landscape in the heart of the city. In the middle of the park was one formal element; a mall with elm trees, and a terrace with views over a lake. In 1863 the Park Commissioners decided to build a monumental fountain for the central basin in the middle of th mall. The architect was a little-known American sculptor, Emma Stebbins, whose brother was the head of the New York Stock Exchange and President of the Board of Commissioners, who lobbied on her behalf. Her fountain was based on the biblical verse from the Gospel of Saint John, in which an Angel touched, or "troubled" the waters of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, giving it healing powers. She wrote about the fountain: "We have no less healing, comfort and purification freely sent to us through the blessed gift of pure, wholesome water, which to all the countless homes of this great city comes like an angel visitant."[53] It was criticized by some writers when it was opened in 1873- the New York Times called it "a feebly-pretty idealess thing",[54] but gradually the fountain became a popular favorite, featured in many films and in recent times in the play Angels in America by Tony Kushner.[55]

International Exposition fountains (1851-1937)

The Crystal Fountain at the Crystal Palace, London Great Exhibition of 1851.
The Bartholdi Fountain from the Philadelphia Bicentennial Exposition of 1876, now in Washington D.C. Its sculptor later made the Statue of Liberty
The Chateau d'eau and plaza of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900. The fountains were illuminated with different colors at night.
The "'Theatre d'eau" from the 1931 Colonial Exposition presented a performance of dancing water, changing shape and color.
The "Pont d'eau' from the 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibit, created a "bridge" of water forty meters long and six meters wide.
The battery of water cannon at the 1937 exposition.

Some of the most innovative fountains ever made were temporary, created for international expositions between 1855 and 1964, designed to highlight the technology of their time. The first illuminated fountains and the first fountains designed to perform with music were introduced at international exhibitions.

The Crystal Fountain was the first of these fountains. Designed by Follett Osler, it was the world's first glass fountain, made of four tons of pure crystal glass. It was displayed in the central court of the Crystal Palace of the London Great Exhibition of 1851. It was destroyed by fire, along with the Crystal Palace, in 1936. The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition wrote in 1851 that the fountain was "perhaps the most striking object in the exhibition; the lightness and beauty, as well as the perfect novelty of the design, have rendered it the theme of admiration with all visitors. The ingenuity with which this has been effected is very perfect; it is supported by bars of iron, which are so completely embedded in the glass shafts, as to be invisible, and in no degree interfering with the purity and crystalline effect of the whole object.[56]

Eight universal expositions took place in Paris between 1855 and 1937, and each included fountains, both for decoration and for sale, which demonstrated the latest in technology and artistic styles. They introduced illuminated fountains, fountains which performed with music, fountains made of glass and concrete, and modern abstract fountains to Paris.

  • The Exposition Universelle (1889) which celebrated the 100th anniverary of the French Revolution. featured the Eiffel Tower, and a fountain illuminated by electric lights shining up though the columns of water, a method first developed in England in 1884. The fountains, located in a basin forty meters in diameter, were given color by plates of colored glass inserted over the lamps. The Fountain of Progress gave its show three times each evening, for twenty minutes, with a series of different colors.[57]
  • The Exposition Universelle (1900) featured the Temple of Electricity, near the Champs Elysees, which had a series of illuminated fountains in front, with lamps shining blue, white and red light. The innovation of 1900 was a keyboard which allowed changing the colors in rapid succession.[58]
  • The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925). This fair introduced the first fountains made of modern materials and in the modernist style of the 20th century. The fountain by sculptor Gabriel Guevrekian was composed of four triangular basins, colored blue or red, and a fountain of glass in the center, surrounded by triangles of grass and flowers. It was the first fountain in Paris composed like a cubist painting.

The most original fountain in the exposition was Les Sources et les Rivieres of France, made by René Lalique. It was a column of glass five meters high, made up of 128 caryatids of glass, each with a different decoration and size, each spraying a thin stream of water into the fountain below. At night the column was illuminated from within, and could change color. It was placed on a cross of concrete covered with decorated plates of glass, and in an ocagonal basin also decorated with colored and black tiles of glass.[59]

  • 'The Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931 introduced neon lights and the indirect outdoor lighting of Paris buildings, and featured eight different illuminated fountains.
  • The Théâtre d'eau, or water theater, located on one side of the lake, covering an arc of a circle of about 80 meters, created a performance of dancing water, forming changing bouquets, arches, and curtains of water from its jets and nozzles. It was the ancestor of the modern musical fountain.
  • The Pont d'eau was made by jets of water from both sides of Lake Daumesnil, which formed an illuminated water "bridge" forty meters long and six meters wide.[60]

The cascades, fountains and basins of the Trocadero, originally built for the 1878 exposition, were completely rebuilt for the 1937 exposition. The main feature was a long basin, or water mirror, with twelve fountain creating columns of water 12 meters high; twenty four smaller fountains four meters high; and ten arches of water. At one end, facing the Seine, were twenty powerful water cannon, able to project a jet of water fifty meters. Above the long basin were two smaller basins, linked with the lower basin by casades flanked by 32 sprays of water four meter high, in vasques. These fountains are the only exposition fountains which still exist today, and still function as they did.

The exhibit also featured two more unusual fountains; a fountain in the Spanish pavilion by the sculptor Alexander Calder, the Fontaine de Mercure, where a small metal structure created a flow of mercury, and a fountain of wine, imitating one once created for Louis XIV at Versailles.

20th century fountains

During the 20th century, fountains were freed entirely of the need to be sources of drinking water. The 20th century saw the introduction of new fountain materials (glass, concrete, plastic and steel) and especially new fountain technologies (electric lighting, amplified music, electric water pumps, and jets of water controlled by computer programs.) While most fountains were still pieces of sculpture with water added, an increasing number of fountains were designed by landscape architects, and were inspired by natural settings such as waterfalls and cascades. Other fountains had no architecture at all, but sprang up directly from water jets under the surface of canals or lakes, or directly from a grid of nozzles in a plaza. Spectators were invited to walk into the fountain and see it from the inside, to become part of the performance.

Paris Fountains (1900-2000)

The Stravinsky Fountain, Paris (1983) is a tribute to the works of composer Igor Stravinsky made up of sixteen works of water-jetting sculpture by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle
Fontaine de la Pyramide, Cour Napoleon I of the Louvre, (1988), I.M. Pei, Architect.

Twenty-eight new fountains were built in Paris between 1900 and 1940, mostly in the new parks and squares created by the removal of the ring of fortifications around the city. The most imaginative fountains were created for the paris International Expositions of 1900, 1925 and 1937 Of these only the fountains built for the 1937 exposition at the Palais de Chaillot still exist. (See section above on Exposition Fountains- above). The most original Paris modernist fountain of the time was the modern glass fountain made by René Lalique for the Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées (no longer existing).

The forms of pre-war Paris fountains were mostly classical, but subject matter of the new fountains varied widely: there is a fountain honoring composer Claude Debussy (The Fontaine Debussy, Place Debussy, 1932); a fountain honoring the engineer who discovered the first artesian well in Paris; a fountain honoring Emile Lavassor, the driver who won first Paris-Bordeaux automobile race in 1895; (Fontaine Lavassor, Porte Maillot); and two fountains in the 16th arrondissement devoted to love; the Fontaine des Amours in the Bagatelle garden (1919) and the Fountain de l'Amour, l'Eveil à la vie. (the awakening of life) in Place de la Porte d'Auteil.[61].

Only a handful of fountains were built in Paris between 1940 and 1980. The most important ones built during that period were on the edges of the city, on the west, just outside the city limits, at La Defense, and to the east at the Bois de Vincennes. Then, between 1981 and 1995, during the terms of President Francois Mitterrand and Culture Minister Jack Lang, and of Mitterrand's bitter political rival, Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac the city experienced a program of monumental fountain building that exceeded that of Napoleon Bonaparte or Louis Philippe. More than one hundred fountains were built in Paris in the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in the neighborhoods outside the center of Paris, where there had been few fountains before.[62] The the Stravinsky Fountain, the Fountain of the Pyramid of the Louvre, the Buren Fountain and Les Sphérades fountain in the Palais Royale, the Fontaine du Parc Andre-Citroen, and new fountains at Les Halles, the Jardin de Reuilly, and beside the Gare Maine-Montparnasse were all built under President Mitterrand and Mayor Chirac.

Many of the fountains were designed by famous sculptors or architects, such as Jean Tinguely, I.M. Pei, Claes Oldenburg and Daniel Buren, who had radically different ideas of what a fountain should be. Some of them, like the Pyramide de Louvre fountain, had glistening sheets of water; while in the Buren Fountain in the Palais Royale, the water was invisible, hidden under the pavement of the fountain. Some of the new fountains were designed with the help of noted landscape architects and used natural materials, such as the fountain in the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes by landscape architect Daniel Collin and sculptor François Stahly. Some were solemn, and others were whimsical. Most made little effort to blend with their surroundings - they were designed to attract attention.[63]

(See Fountains in Paris.)

Fountains in the United States (1900-2000)

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (1997) in Washington D.C.
The Art-Deco style Fountain of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center, New York City (1933)
The musical fountain of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, with pivoting nozzles to vary the patterns of the water, controlled by computers and accompanied by music

Fountains built in the United States between 1900 and 1950 mostly followed European models and classical styles. The handsome Samuel Francis Dupont Memorial Fountain, in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., was built by Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester French, the architect and sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial, in 1921, in a pure neoclassical style.(see gallery below) The Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park in Chicago was one of the first American fountains to use powerful modern pumps to shoot water as high as 150 feet (46 meters) into the air.(see gallery below) The Fountain of Prometheus, built at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 1933, was the first American fountain in the Art-Deco style.

After World War II, fountains in the United States became more varied in form. Some, like the Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco (1971), were pure works of sculpture. The modernist French-Canadian Armand Vaillancourt built his monumental fountain at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco in a cubist style, though it was intended as a political statement - the official title is "Quebec Libre!" and the artist was arrested at the time of the opening for painting political slogans on his own fountain.

Other fountains, like the Frankin Roosevelt Memorial Waterfall (1997), by architect Lawrence Halprin, were designed as landscapes to illustrate themes. This fountain is part of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C., which has four outdoor "rooms" illustrating his Presidency. Each "room" contains a cascade or waterfall; the cascade in the third room illustrates the turbulence of the years of the World War II. Halprin wrote at an early stage of the design; "the whole environment of the memorial becomes sculpture: to touch, feel, hear and contact - with all the senses."[64]

One of the most unusual modern American fountains is the Civil Rights Memorial (1989) at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, designed by Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.. This fountain features a low elliptical black granite table, with a thin surface of water flowing over the surface, over the inscribed names of civil rights leaders who lost their lives, illustrating the quotation from Martin Luther King Jr.: "...Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Visitors are invited to touch the names through the water. "The water is as slow as I could get it," Lin wrote. It remains very still until you touch it. Your hand carves ripples, which transform and alter the piece, just as reading the words completes the piece."[65] (See gallery below)

Contemporary Fountains (2001-2009)

Bit.Fall by sculptor Julius Popp (2005)

The fountain called Bit.Fall by German artist Julius Popp (2005) uses digital technologies to spell out words with water. The fountain is run by a statistical program which selects words at random from news stories on the Internet. It then recodes these words into pictures. Then 320 nozzles inject the water into electromagnetic valves. The program uses rasterization and bitmap technologies to synchronize the valves so drops of water form an image of the words as they fall. According to Popp, the sheet of water is "a metaphor for the constant flow of information from which we cannot escape."[66]

Crown Fountain is an interactive fountain and video sculpture feature in Chicago's Millennium Park. Designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, it opened in July 2004.[67][68] The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 50 feet (15.2 m) tall,[67] and they use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on their inward faces. Construction and design of the Crown Fountain cost $17 million.[69] Weather permitting, the water operates from May to October,[70] intermitently cascading down the two towers and spouting through a nozzle on each tower's front face.

Legendary fountains

The Fountain of Life, or in its earlier form, the Fountain of Living Waters, is a Christian iconography symbol associated with baptism, first appearing in the 5th century in illuminated manuscripts and later in other art forms such as panel paintings. Christian allegory made much use of the concept of the fountain, specifically the Fountain of Life, associated with the rebirth that was intended to be experienced at the Baptismal font. The Fountain of Life appears in Christian illuminated manuscripts of Late Antiquity, and elaborate Gothic fountains formed centerpieces for exclosed gardens.

Splash fountains

International Fountain in Seattle, United States was designed specifically as a bathing fountain and includes a large nonslip play area, with speakers for music.

A splash fountain or bathing fountain is intended for people to come in and cool off on hot summer days. These fountains are designed to allow easy access, and feature nonslip surfaces, and have no standing water, to eliminate possible drowning hazards, so that no lifeguards or supervision is required. These splash pads are often located in public pools, public parks, or public playgrounds (known as "spraygrounds"). In some splash fountains, such as Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, the water is heated by solar energy captured by the special dark colored granite slabs. The fountain at Dunas Square features 600 ground nozzles arranged in groups of 30 (3 rows of 10 nozzles). Each group of 30 nozzles is located beneath a stainless steel grille. Twenty such grilles are arranged in two rows of 10, in the middle of the main walkway through Dundas Square.

Drinking fountains

A water fountain or drinking fountain is designed to provide drinking water and has a basin arrangement with either continuously running water or a tap. Modern indoor drinking fountains may incorporate filters to remove impurities from the water and chillers to reduce its temperature. In some regional dialects, water fountains are referred to as bubblers. Water fountains are usually found in public places, like schools, rest areas, libraries, and grocery stores. Many jurisdictions require water fountains to be wheelchair accessible (by sticking out horizontally from the wall), and to include an additional unit of a lower height for children and short adults. The design that this replaced often had one spout atop a refrigeration unit.

In 1859, The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association was established to promote the provision of drinking water for people and animals in the United Kingdom and overseas. More recently, in 2010, the FindaFountain campaign was launched in the UK to encourage people to use drinking fountains instead of environmentally damaging bottled water. A map showing the location of UK drinking water fountains is published on the FindaFountain website.

The technology of fountains

The book "The Theory and Practice of Gardening" by Dezallier d'Argenville (1709) showed different types of fountain nozzles which would create different shapes of water, from bouquets to fans.

From Roman times until the 20th century, fountains operated by gravity, requiring a source of water higher than the fountain itself to make the water flow. The greater the difference between the elevation of the source of water and the fountain, the higher the water would go upwards from the fountain.

In Roman cities, water for fountains came from lakes and rivers and springs in the hills, brought into city in acqueducts and then distributed to fountains through a system of lead pipes.

From the Middle Ages onwards, fountains in villages or towns were connected to springs, or to channels which brought water from lakes or rivers. In Provence, a typical village fountain consisted of a pipe or underground duct from a spring at a higher elevation than the fountain. The water from the spring down to the fountain, then up a tube into a bulb-shaped stone vessel, like a large vase with a cover on top. The inside of the vase, called the bassin de répartition, was filled with water up to a level just above the mouths of the canons, or spouts, which slanted downwards. The water poured down through the canons, creating a siphon, so that the fountain ran continually.

In cities and towns, residents filled vessels or jars of water from the canons of the fountain or paid a water porter to bring the water to their home. Horses and domestic animals could drink the water in the basin below the fountain. The water not used often flowed into a separate series of basins, a lavoir, used for washing and rinsing clothes. After being used for washing, the same water then ran through a channel to the town's kitchen garden. In Provence, since clothes were washed with ashes, the water that flowed into the garden contained potassium, and was valuable as fertilizer.[71]

The most famous fountains of the Renaissance, at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, were located on a steep slope near a river; the builders ran a channel from the river to a large fountain at top of the garden, which then fed other fountains and basins on the levels below. The fountains of Rome, built from the Renaissance through the 18th century, took their water from rebuilt Roman acqueducts which brought water from lakes and rivers at a higher elevation than the fountains. Those fountains with a high source of water, such as the Triton Fountain, could shoot water 16 feet in air. Fountains with a lower source, such as the Trevi Fountain, could only have water pour downwards. The architect of the Trevi Fountain placed it below street level to make the flow of water seem more dramatic.

The fountains of Versailles depended upon water from reservoirs just above the fountains. As King Louis XIV built more fountains, he was forced to construct an enormous complex of pumps, called the Machine de Marly, with fourteen water wheels and 220 pumps, to raise water 162 meters above the Seine River to the reservoirs to keep his fountains flowing. Even with the Machine de Marly, the fountains used so much water that they could not be all turned on at the same time. Fontainiers watched the progress of the King when he toured the gardens and turned on each fountain just before he arrived.[72].

The architects of the fountains at Versailles designed specially-shaped nozzles, or tuyaux, to form the water into it into different shapes, such as fans, bouquests, and umbrellas.

Beginning in the 19th century, fountains ceased to be used for drinking water and became purely ornamental. By the beginning of the 20th century, cities began using steam pumps and later electric pumps to send water to the city fountains. Later in the 20th century, urban fountains began to recycle their water through a closed recirculating system. An electric pump, often placed under the water, pushes the water through the pipes. The water must be regularly topped up to offset water lost to evaporation, and allowance must be made to handle overflow after heavy rain.

In modern fountains a water filter, typically a media filter, removes particles from the water—this filter requires its own pump to force water through it and plumbing to remove the water from the pool to the filter and then back to the pool. The water may need chlorination or anti-algal treatment, or may use biological methods to filter and clean water.

The pumps, filter, electrical switch box and plumbing controls are often housed in a "plant room". Low-voltage lighting, typically 12 volt direct current, is used to minimise electrical hazards. Lighting is often submerged and must be suitably designed. Floating fountains are also popular for ponds and lakes they consist of a float pump nozzle and water chamber.

Water quality and legal liability issues concerning fountains

A fountain used as a drinking source in the Swiss Alps, Switzerland.

There is a need for good water quality in contemporary fountains, regardless of their avowed intended use. Regardless of the fact that some fountains are designed and built not as bathing fountains, but are rather used simply as architectural decor, people will often drink from, bathe or wash their hands in any fountain. Additionally, fountain spray can contain legionella bacteria and has been linked to legionnaires' disease outbreaks. Therefore, minimum water quality standards are necessary, regardless of intended use. Guidelines have been developed for control of legionella in ornamental fountains.

In theory, a free-standing water feature should not have a bather load, and consequently, many builders would not choose to install filters or sanitation devices. In reality, however, people will interact with ornamental water fountains in the most surprising ways. In Disneyland, for example, people have been reported to change their babies' diapers and then wash their hands in the water fountain (thus adding unexpected bacteria and organics into the water). (Pool and Spa News Online)

In July 1997, an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis was connected to an ornamental fountain at the Minnesota Zoo, which did not have proper filtration and water treatment. Children played in fountains and swallowed water, and spurted the water out of their mouths to mimic the way nozzles in the fountain spurted the water. It was therefore necessary to put a fence around the fountain to keep people away.

In the United States fountain operators and owners are legally liable for failure to either fence-in fountains, or to properly filter, chlorinate or otherwise treat the water, if the fountains are not fenced in. If the water is unsafe, fences must be designed to keep people far enough away, so that they cannot touch the water, otherwise children get water on their hands, and put their fingers into their mouths, and end up getting sick, thus subjecting owners and operators to legal liability.

The Tallest Fountains in the World

The title of the second-tallest fountain in the world is claimed by the World Cup Fountain in the Han-gang River in Seoul, Korea. (2002), 202 meters (663 feet). (no picture yet posted.)

Gallery of notable fountains around the world

Fountains in Europe

See also:

Fountains in the United States and Canada

Fountains in the Middle East

Fountains in Russia

(See also Fountains in Moscow)

Fountains in Africa

Fountains in Asia

Fountains in Australia

Fountains in Latin America

See also

Bibliography

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  • Les Aqueducs de la ville de Rome, translation and commentary by Pierre Grimal, Société d'édition Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1944.
  • Louis Plantier, Fontaines de Provence et de Côte deAzur, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, 2007
  • Frédérick Cope and Tazartes Maurizia, Les fontaines de Rome, Editions Citadelles et Mazenod, 2004
  • André Jean Tardy, Fontaines Toulonnaises, Les Editions de la Nerthe, 2001. ISBN 2-913483-24-0
  • Hortense Lyon, La Fontaine Stravinsky, Collection Baccalaureat arts plastiques 2004, CEntre national de documentation pedagogique
  • Marilyn Symmes (editor), Fountains-Splash and Spectacle- Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. Thames and Hudson, in cooperation with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (1998).

References and Sources

  1. ^ Philippe Prévot, Histoire des jardins, Editions Sud Ouest, Bordeaux, 2006.
  2. ^ SAMIRAD (Saudi Arabia Market Information Resource Directory
  3. ^ "fountain". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/214794/fountain. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  4. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, 1.59
  5. ^ Louis Plantier, Fontaines de Provence et de Côte deAzur, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, 2007
  6. ^ Frontin, Les Aqueducs de la ville de Rome, translation and commentary by Pierre Grimal, Société d'édition Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1944.
  7. ^ Philippe Prevot, pg. 20
  8. ^ a b Philippe Prevot, pg. 21
  9. ^ Book of Revelations 22:1, Psalms 36:9, Proverbs 13:14, and Dante's Paradisio XXV 1-9.
  10. ^ Molina, Nathalie, 1999: Le Thoronet Abbey, Monum - Editions du patrimoine.
  11. ^ Marilyn Simmes, Fountains, Splash and Spectacle. pg.63
  12. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe This type of "water joke" later became popular in Renaissance and baroque gardens.
  13. ^ See the official site of the Alhambra complex for the history of the fountains
  14. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe . See also See the official site of the Alhambra complex for the history of the fountains
  15. ^ Naomi Miller, Fountains as Metaphor, in Fountains- Splash and Spectacle -Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present, edited by Marilyn Symmes, London, 1998.
  16. ^ Yves-Marie Allain and Janine Christiany, L'Art des jardins en Europe, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 2006
  17. ^ Bent Sorensen (November 1995), "History of, and Recent Progress in, Wind-Energy Utilization", Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 20: 387-424, doi:10.1146/annurev.eg.20.110195.002131 
  18. ^ Banu Musa (authors), Donald Routledge Hill (translator) (1979), The book of ingenious devices (Kitāb al-ḥiyal), Springer, p. 44, ISBN 9027708339 
  19. ^ Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens, A Cultural History, pg. 11-12
  20. ^ Pinto, John A. The Trevi Fountain. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1986.
  21. ^ The fountain in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere originally had two upper basins, but the water pressure in the early Renaissance was so low that the water was unable to reach the upper basin, so the top basin was removed.
  22. ^ cited in Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens, a Cultural History pg. 21
  23. ^ Symmes, Fountains - Splash and Spectacle, pg. 126
  24. ^ Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle- Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. pg. 78
  25. ^ Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens - A Cultural History. pg. 30
  26. ^ Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens - A Cultural History. Francis Lincoln Limited, 2006.
  27. ^ Marion Boudon, "La fontaine des Innocents", in Paris et ses fontaines, de la Renaissance à nos jours, 1995.
  28. ^ Le Guide du Patrimoine en France, Editions du Patrmoine, Centre des Monuments Nationaux, 2009
  29. ^ A. Muesset, Les Francinis, Paris, 1930, cited in Luigi Gallo, La présence italianne au 17e siècle, in Paris et ses fontaines de la Renaissance à nos jours, Collection Paris et son patrimoine, (1995).
  30. ^ Luigi Gallo, La présence italianne au 17e siècle, in Paris et ses fontaines de la Renaissance à nos jours, Collection Paris et son patrimoine,
  31. ^ Italian Gardens, a Cultural History, Helen Attlee. Francis Lincoln Limited, London 2006.
  32. ^ Katherine Wentworth Rinne, The Fall and Rise of the Waters of Rome, collected in Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle. (pg. 54).
  33. ^ Wentworth Rinne, The Fall and Rise of the Waters of Rome, collected in Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle. (pg. 54).
  34. ^ Maria Ann Conneli and Marilyn Symmes, Fountains as propaganda, in Fountains, Splash and Spectacle - Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. Edited by Marilyn Symmes. Thames and Hudson, London,
  35. ^ Conelli and Symmes, pg. 90
  36. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe. and "Fountains as Propaganda," in the collection Fountains- Splash and Spectacle, edited by Marilyn Symmes.
  37. ^ Fountains as Propaganda by Mary Anne Conelli and Marilyn Symmes, in the collection Fountains- Splash and Spectacle, edited by Marilyn Symmes.
  38. ^ Robert W. Berger, The Chateau of Louis XIV, University Park, PA. 1985, and Gerald van der Kemp, Versailles, New York, 1978.
  39. ^ Stephen Astley, The Fountains in Trafalagar Square, in Fountains- Splash and Spectacle - Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present, editied by Marilyn Symmes, 1998.
  40. ^ Katia Frey, L'enterprise napoléonienne, in Paris et ses Fontaines, p. 104.
  41. ^ Philippe Cebron de Lisle, p. 40.
  42. ^ Chaptal, Mes Souvenirs sur Napoleon, Paris, 1893, pp. 357-58, cited in L. Beaumont-Maillet, L'eau a Paris, Paris, 1991 p. 25, and in Philippe Cebron de Lisle, "Vers l'abondance," article in Paris et ses fontaines, p. 39.
  43. ^ Dominique Massounie, La fontaine urbaine: le modèle Parisien, in the collection Paris et ses fontaines, pp. 160-162.
  44. ^ Katia Frey, L'enterprise napoleonienne, p. 119.
  45. ^ Beatrice Lamoitier, L'Essor des fontaines monumentales, in Paris et ses fontaines. pg. 171.
  46. ^ Beatrice Lamoitier, L'essor des fontaines monumentales, pg. 175.
  47. ^ Beatrice LaMoitier, "Le règne de Davioud", in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 180
  48. ^ Dominique Jarassé, La fontaine Saint-Michel, Le classicism controversé, Archives d'architecture moderne, 1982, number 22, pgs. 80-87.
  49. ^ Elie Frebault, Les fontaines de sir Richard Wallace, l'Illustration, August 17, 1872, pg. 103-105. Cited in Beatrice Lamoitier, Paris et ses Fontaines, page 188
  50. ^ Ric Burns and James Sanders, New York, an Illustrated History, Alfred Knopf, New Yorkm, 1999, pg. 78-79.
  51. ^ Marilyn Symmes with Maria Ann Conelli, "Fountains as Refreshment", in the collection Fountains- Splash and Spectacle, Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. Thames and Hudson, London, 1998.
  52. ^ Quoted by Marilynn Symmes and Maria Ann Conelli in Fountains, Splash and Spectacle. Pg. 45.
  53. ^ Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, 'American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions, Chicago, 1990, pg. 63-66. Cited in "The Bethesda Fountain in New York City", article by Andrew Scott Dolkart in Fountains- Splash and Spectacle, Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present, by Marilynn Symmes.
  54. ^ "The Bethesda Fountain", The New York Times, June 1, 1873.
  55. ^ Tony Kushner - Angels in America part two, Perestroika, New York, 1994, pp. 143-146. Cited by Andrew Scott Dolkart in Fountains - Splash and Spectacle.
  56. ^ The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition, London , 1851, volume 1, pp, 235, 326., cited in "Fountains as Spectacle at International Expositions", by Marilyn Symmes and Stephen Van Dyk, in Marilyn Symmes, Fountains, Splash and Spectacle, Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present.
  57. ^ Virginie Grandval, Fontaines éphéméres, in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 209-247
  58. ^ Virginie Grandval, pg. 229
  59. ^ VIrginie Grandval, Fontaines éphémères, pg. 233.
  60. ^ Virginie Granval, Fontaines éphémères, pg. 233.
  61. ^ Prevost-Marcilhacy, pg. 260.
  62. ^ André Hoffman, La création contemporaine, in Paris et ses fontaines. Pg. 266,
  63. ^ André Hoffman, La création contemporaine, in Paris et ses fontaines. Pg. 266.
  64. ^ Halprin, Lawrence, Notebooks 1959-1971, Cambridge Massachusetts (1972)
  65. ^ Zinnser, William, "I Realized Her Tears Were Becoming Part of The Memorial (Maya Lin), Smithsonian 22, no. 6. September 1991 pp. 32-43).
  66. ^ From the label on the fountain displayed at the Moscow bienalle of contemporary art, October 2009. To see a short documentary about Bit.Fall, BitFall project
  67. ^ a b "Artropolis". Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071105232924/http://mmart.com/artropolis/citywide_events/public_art/index.html. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  68. ^ "Crown Fountain". Archi•Tech. Stamats Business Media. July/August 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20070928010624/http://www.architechmag.com/articles/detailarchitech.asp?articleid=2622. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  69. ^ "Chicago's stunning Crown Fountain uses LED lights and displays". LEDs Magazine. PennWell Corporation. May 2005. http://www.ledsmagazine.com/features/2/5/3. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  70. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". City of Chicago. http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/portalCategoryTreeAction.do?deptMainCategoryOID=-536887892&categoryPath=%2fCity+Agencies%2fCity+Departments%2fCity+of+Chicago%2fSub+Agencies%2fMillennium+Park%2fFAQ+Categories&success=FAQ&entityName=Millennium+Park&topChannelName=SubAgency&contentType=COC_FAQ&com.broadvision.session.new=Yes. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  71. ^ Louis Plantier, Fontaines de Provence et de Côte Azur, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, 2007
  72. ^ Marilyn Symmes, "Fountains as Propaganda," in "Fountains, Splash and Spectacle," pg. 82-83
  73. ^ a b Height of fountain cited by the site of the Saudi Arabia Market Information and Directory, part of the Saudi Press Agency.
  74. ^ Guiness Book of World Records.
  75. ^ Marilyn Symmes, 'Fountains as Propaganda," pg. 86.

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From Wikisource

The Fountain
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The Fountain may refer to:


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FOUNTAIN (Late Lat. fontana, from Eons, a spring), a term applied in a restricted sense to such outlets of water as, whether fed by natural or artificial means, have contrivances of human art at a point where the water emerges. A very early existing example is preserved in the carved Babylonian basin (about 3000 s.c.) found at Tello, the ancient Lagash, and Layard mentions an Assyrian fountain, found by him in a gorge of the river Gomel, which consists of a series of basins cut in the solid rock and descending in steps to the stream. The water had been originally led from one to the other by small conduits, the lowest of which was ornamented by two rampant lions in relief. The term is applied equally to the simpler arrangements for letting water gush into an ornamental basin or to the more elaborate ones by which water is mechanically forced into high jets; and a "fountain" may be either the ornamental receptacle or the jet of water itself. In modern times the examples of ornamental or useful fountains are legion, and it will suffice here to mention some of the more important facts of historical interest.

Among the Greeks fountains were very common in the cities. Springs being very plentiful in Greece, little engineering skill was required to convey the water from place to place. Receptacles of sufficient size were made for it at the springs; and to maintain its purity, structures were raised enclosing and covering the receptacle. In Greece they were dedicated to gods and goddesses, nymphs and heroes, and were frequently placed in or near temples. That of Pirene at Corinth (mentioned also by Herodotus) was formed of white stone, and contained a number of cells from which the pleasant water flowed into an open basin. Legend connects it with the nymph Pirene, who shed such copious tears, when bewailing her son who had been slain by Diana, that she was changed into a fountain. The city of Corinth possessed many fountains. In one near the statues of Diana and Bellerophon the water flowed through the hoofs of the horse Pegasus. The fountain of Glauce, enclosed in the Odeum, was dedicated to Glauce, because she was said to have thrown herself into it believing that its waters could counteract the poisons of Medea. Another Corinthian fountain had a bronze statue of Poseidon standing on a dolphin from which the water flowed. The fountain constructed by Theagenes at Megara was remarkable for its size and decorations, and for the number of its columns. One at Lerna was surrounded with pillars, and the structure contained a number of seats affording a cool summer retreat. Near Pharae was a grove dedicated to Apollo, and in it a fountain of water. Pausanias gives a definite architectural detail when he says that a fountain at Patrae was reached from without by descending steps. Mystical, medicinal, surgical and other qualities, as well as supernatural origin, were ascribed to fountains. One at Cyane in Lycia was said to possess the quality of endowing all persons descending into it with power to see whatever they desired to see; while the legends of fountains and other waters with strange powers to heal are numerous in many lands. The fountain Enneacrunus at Athens was called Callirrhoe before the time the water was drawn from it by the nine pipes from which it took its later name. Two temples were above it, according to Pausanias, one dedicated to Demeter and Persephone, and the other to Triptolemus. The fountain in the temple of Erechtheus at Athens was supplied by a spring of salt water, and a similar spring supplied that in the temple of Poseidon Hippios at Mantinea.

The water-supply of Rome and the works auxiliary to it were on a scale to be expected from a people of such great practical power. The remains of the aqueducts which stretched from the city across the Campagna are amongst the most striking monuments of Italy. Vitruvius (book viii.) gives minute particulars concerning the methods to be employed for the discovery, testing and distribution of water, and describes the properties of different waters with great care, proving the importance which was attached to these matters by the Romans. The aqueducts supplied the baths and the public fountains, from which last all the populace, except such as could afford to pay for a separate pipe to their houses, obtained their water. These fountains were therefore of large size and numerous. They were formed at many of the castella of the aqueducts. According to Vitruvius, each castellum should have three pipes, - one for public fountains, one for baths and the third for private houses. Considerable revenue was drawn from the possessors of private water-pipes. The Roman fountains were generally decorated with figures and heads. Fountains were often also the ornament of Roman villas and country houses; in those so situated the water gener ally fell from above into a large marble basin, with at times second fall into a still lower receptacle. Two adjacent houses in Pompeii had very remarkable fountains. One, says Gell, "is covered with a sort of mosaic consisting of vitrified tesserae of different colours, but in which blue predominates. These are sometimes arranged in not inelegant patterns, and the grand divisions as well as the borders are entirely formed and ornamented with real sea-shells, neither calcined by the heat of the eruption nor changed by the lapse of so many centuries" (Pompeian¢, i. 196). Another of large size was similarly decorated with marine shells, and is supposed to have borne two sculptured figures, one of which, a bronze, is in the museum at Naples. This fountain projects 5 ft. 7 in. from the wall against which it is placed, and is 7 ft. wide in front, while the height of the structure up to the eaves of the pediment is 7 ft. 7 in. On a central column in the piscina was a statue of Cupid, with a dove, from the mouth of which water issued. Cicero had, at his villa at Formiae, a fountain which was decorated with marine shells.

Fountains were very common in the open spaces and at the crossways in Pompeii. They were supplied by leaden pipes from the reservoirs, and had little ornament except a human or animal head, from the mouth of which it was arranged that the water should issue. Not only did simple running fountains exist, but the remains of jets d'eau have been found; and a drawing exists representing a vase with a double jet of water, standing on a pedestal placed in what is supposed to have been the impluvium of a house. There was also a jet d'eau at the eastern end of the peristyle of the Fullonica at Pompeii.

As among the Greeks, so with the early Celts, traces of superstitious beliefs and usages with relation to fountains can be traced in monumental and legendary remains. Near the village of Primaleon in Brittany was a very remarkable monument, - one possibly unique, as giving distinct proof of the existence of an ancient cult of fountains. Here is a dolmen composed of a horizontal table supported by two stones only, one at each end. All the space beneath this altar is occupied by a long square basin formed of large flat stones, which receives a fountain of water. At Lochrist is another vestige of the Celtic cult of fountains. Beneath the church, and at the foot of the hill upon which it is built, is a sacred fountain, near which is erected an ancient chapel, which with its ivy-covered walls has a most romantic appearance. A Gothic vault protects this fountain. Miraculous virtues are still attributed to its water, and on certain days the country people still come with offerings to draw it (see La Poix de Freminville, Antiquites de la Bretagne, i. p. 1 c I). In the enchanted forest of Brochelande, so famous from its connexion with Merlin, was the fountain of Baranton, which was said to possess strange characteristics. Whoever drew water from it, and sprinkled the steps therewith, produced a tremendous storm of thunder and hail, accompanied with thick darkness.

Christianity transferred to its own uses the ancient religious feeling concerning fountains. Statues of the Virgin or of saints were erected upon the rude structures that collected the water and preserved its purity. There is some uniformity in the architectural characteristics of these structures during the middle ages. A very common form in rural districts was that in which the fountain was reached by descending steps (fontaine grotte) . A large basin received the water, sometimes from a spout, but often from the spring itself. This basin was covered by a sort of porch or vault, with at times moulded arches and sculptured figures and escutcheons. On the bank of the Clain at Poitiers is a fountain of this kind, the Fontaine Joubert, which though restored in 1597 was originally a structure of the 14th century. This kind of fountain is frequently decorated with figures of the Virgin or of saints, or with the family arms of its founder; often, too, the water is the only ornament of the structure, which bears a simple inscription. A large number of these fountains are to be found in Brittany and indeed throughout France, and the great antiquity of some of them is proved by the superstitions regarding them which still exist amongst the peasantry. A form more common in populous districts was that of a large open basin, round, square, polygonal, or lobed in form, with a columnar structure at the centre, from the lower part of which it was arranged that spouts should issue, playing into an open basin, and supplying vessels brought for the purpose in the cleanest and quickest manner. The columns take very various forms, from that of a simple regular geometrical solid, with only grotesque masks at the spouts, to that of an elaborate and ornate Gothic structure, with figures of virgins, saints and warriors, with mouldings, arches, crockets and finials. At Provins there is a fountain said to be of the 12th century, which is in form an hexagonal vase with a large column in the centre, the capital of which is pierced by three mouths, which are furnished with heads of bronze projecting far enough to cast the water into the basin. In the public market-place at Brunswick is a fountain of the 15th century, of which the central structure is made of bronze. Many fountains are still existing in France and Germany which, though their actual present structure may date no earlier than the 15th or 16th century, have been found on the place of, and perhaps may almost be considered as restorations of, pre-existing fountains. Except in Italy few fountains are of earlier date than the 14th century. Two of that date are at the abbey of Fontaine Daniel, near Mayenne, and another, of granite, is at Limoges. Some of these middle-age fountains are simple, open reservoirs enclosed in structures which, however plain, still carry the charm that belongs to the stone-work of those times. There is one of this kind at Cully, Calvados, walled on three sides, and fed from the spring by two circular openings. Its only ornamentation is a small empty niche with mouldings. At Lincoln is a fountain of the time of Henry VIII., in front of the church of St Mary Wickford. At Durham is one of octangular plan, which bears a statue of Neptune.

The decay of architectural taste in the later centuries is shown by the fountain of Limoges. It is in form a rock representing Mount Parnassus, upon which are carved in relief Apollo, the horse Pegasus, Philosophy and the Nine Muses. At the top Apollo, in the 16th-century costume, plays a harp. Rocks, grass and sheep fill up the scene.

Purely ornamental fountains and jets d'eau are found in or near many large cities, royal palaces and private seats. The celebrated Fontana di Trevi, at Rome, was erected early in the 18th century under Pope Clement XII., and has all the characteristics of decadence. La Fontana Paolina and those in the piazza of St Peter's are perhaps next in celebrity to that of Trevi, and are certainly in better taste. At Paris the Fontaine des Innocens (the earliest) and those of the Place Royal, of the Champs Elysees and of the Place de la Concorde are the most noticeable. The fountain of the lions and other fountains in the Alhambra palace are, with their surroundings, a very magnificent sight. The largest jets d'eau are those at Versailles, at the Sydenham Crystal Palace and at San Ildefonso.

About the earliest drawing of any drinking fountain in England occurs in Moxon's Tutor to Astronomic and Geographic (1659) it is "surmounted by a diall, which was made by Mr John Leak, and set upon a composite column at Leadenhall corner, in the majoralty of Sir John Dethick, Knight." The water springs from the top and base of the column, which stands upon a square pedestal and bears four female figures, one at least of which represents the costume of the period.

In the East the public drinking fountains are a very important institution. In Cairo alone there are three hundred. These "sebeels" are not only to be seen in the cities, but are plentiful in the fields and villages.

The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association (1859) has done much to provide facilities in London for both man and beast to get water to drink in the streets. And in the United States liberal provision has also been made by private and public enterprise.


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Heb. 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert.

A natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deut 8:7; Deut 11:11).

These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools", at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns.

This article needs to be merged with FOUNTAIN (Jewish Encyclopedia).
This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

File:Jet-d'eau-Genè
The Jet d'Eau in Geneva

A Fountain is an arrangement, usually made by man; in it, the water from a source is captured in some way. Most often, it is used to fill a basin of some kind. Sometimes there are many basins, and water runs from one into the next. It is also common to have sculptures in fountains.

Sometimes jets are used to make the water go high into the air, using pressure.

bjn:Banyu mancurat









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