The statue at the top of the Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens has today (Tuesday 22nd May, 2018) been carefully lowered back into place marking the completion of the £1.9M restoration.
The renovation work commissioned by The Ross Development Trust has been supported by Edinburgh World Heritage and was undertaken in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council. Work started in July 2017 and was undertaken by Wigan-based specialists, Lost Art.
The two tonne statue was returned to its place by a 15m crane in an operation that lasted around an hour.
David Ellis, Managing Director of The Ross Development Trust, said: ‘The view of the Ross Fountain with the castle in the backdrop is without doubt a postcard image of the city. We therefore prioritised the restoration of this amazing and much-loved monument within the wider revitalisation project.
‘Restoration of a piece such as this requires careful work, Lost Art is to be congratulated on a great job. It’s wonderful to see the Ross Fountain returned to his former glory. It will definitely become the backdrop for many photographs of happy moments in the future.’
Edinburgh World Heritage has provided a significant grant towards the removal, repair, restoration and reinstatement of the Ross Fountain. Fiona MacDonald, Conservation Architect at Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “The Ross Fountain, initially viewed by many as audacious, flamboyant and even scandalous to some 19th-century sensibilities, has over the years become a much-loved landmark, at the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. The quality of this exquisite French fountain, with its mermaids, cherubs and griffins made its careful conservation all the more important.”
Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “It is fantastic to see the statue return. We are very thankful for the support of the Trust and everyone involved in getting the Fountain to this stage, and I am looking forward marking its full completion later in the summer when the water will be switched back on. It will once again be one of the most recognisable – and stunning – features of Princes Street Gardens.”
The whole conservation project has been completed on schedule. The next few months will be spent testing the new water-pump system and completing the landscaping work required to fully welcome the fountain back into the gardens. Water will flow through the fountain again during the summer. The Ross Fountain is now in pristine condition and capable of withstanding the Scottish climate long into the future.