Ross Fountain

The Ross Fountain

Ross Fountain, Edinburgh

The history of Ross Fountain

The Ross Fountain, an exquisite piece of Victorian cast-iron craftsmanship, graces the heart of Princes Street Gardens. Local gun maker, Daniel Ross, saw a fountain in London at the Great Exhibition of 1862 and in 1869 purchased a larger version as a gift to Edinburgh. The 122 pieces that make up the fountain were shipped to Leith, and transported to Princes St Gardens for assembly.

Cultural significance

The Ross Fountain is a cultural gem, reflecting the opulence and artistry of the Victorian period. Its intricate design, featuring cherubs, mermaids, and water nymphs, exemplifies the era’s fascination with classical themes. The fountain’s arrival marked a significant moment in Edinburgh’s civic beautification efforts, demonstrating a commitment to enhancing public spaces for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. It stands as a symbol of the city’s dedication to blending art and functionality.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

The fountain is a magnificent example of 19th century cast-iron work, in the neoclassical style commonly known as Beaux Arts. its importation from France marked a pivotal moment in Edinburgh’s civic development. The fountain’s installation represented a significant investment in enhancing the city’s public spaces, reflecting a commitment to providing residents and visitors with a visually stunning and enjoyable urban environment.

Key events

The fountain was completed and officially opened in 1872, however David Ross sadly died one year earlier.

In July 2017, Edinburgh World Heritage, The Ross Development Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council collaborate to restore the fountain and get the water flowing again for the first time since 2010.

Additional information

The Ross Fountain was imported from Durenne Ironworks in France in the late 19th century.
The Ross Fountain’s ornate cast-iron design, coupled with its historical significance, sets it apart. Durenne claimed it was as fine as any bronze equivalent, but much less expensive to make. The designer, Jean-Baptiste Klagman, also designed statues for the Louvre Fountain and the Fountain D’Medics in the Luxembourg Garden, both in Paris.
The Ross Fountain graces the picturesque surroundings of Princes Street Gardens, with a captivating view of Edinburgh Castle in the backdrop.

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