Restoration of the Ross Fountain, an iconic landmark within the city’s West Princes Street Gardens, is now underway.
It’s a huge undertaking. 122 individual cast-iron pieces are being dismantled and removed over the next few weeks for a full restoration that will see the fountain returned and reassembled in full working order in the Gardens next summer. So, as the temporary screening goes up around the fountain site, here are ten fascinating facts about the Ross Fountain:
1. The Fountain was purchased as a gift to the city by Edinburgh gunsmith, Daniel Ross – “with inclination to art and science” – at the Great Exhibition of London in 1862.
2. It was erected in its present position in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872, but only after much wrangling over its position until the current site was agreed.
3. Ross himself never got to see the Fountain installed; he died the year before in 1871.
4. It was originally agreed that the fountain should operate only “on Sundays and when the band plays…”
5. Dean Ramsay, the mid-Victorian minister of St John’s Episcopal Church, on Princes Street said the amount of nudity in the sculptures was “grossly indecent and disgusting; insulting and offensive to the moral feelings of the community and disgraceful to the city”.
6. The female figures represent art, science, poetry and industry, whilst the figure on the top of the Fountain is holding a cornucopia.
7. It is from the world-famous foundry of Antoine Durenne, in Sommevoire Haute Marne in France.
8. The figures were sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Jules Klagmann, born April 1810, whose other work includes figures for the Louvre and fountains in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.
9. The Fountain is a magnificent example of 19th century cast-iron work, in the neoclassical style commonly known as Beaux Arts.
10. It is one of only two A-listed cast iron fountains in the UK.
To find out more about how Ross Development Trust are undertaking the restoration of the Ross Fountain and the Trust’s broader project to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens. Learn more about the restoration of the Ross Fountain and find out how you can get involved with and support the Trust.