Friday, June 26, 2009

Fountain Destination - London

Thank you for joining the Fountaineer in London, England. I hope you remembered to turn off your indoor water fountains and that you packed your battery-operated water fountain for use tonight. There are many water fountains in London. We will only have time to visit a few of them today; let’s start with contemporary samples.

Here we are in Hyde Park, where we find the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain ( Photograph taken by Colin Gregory Palmer). Established in 2004, it is set out in the form of a large, oval stream bed measuring about 165 by 260 feet, that surrounds and is surrounded by a lush lawn.

The Cornish granite streambed contains a shallow flow and is laid out in a naturally sloping portion of the park. The flow starts at the top of the oval and cascades down either side. One side of the stream bed smoothly descends in gentle ripples, and the other side descends in a variety of steps, rills, and curves so that the water cascades and swirls into the tranquil pool at the bottom. The two sides symbolize the two sides of Diana's life-- her happy times and the turmoil. The Memorial also symbolizes Diana's quality of openness. There are three bridges where you can cross the water and go right to the heart of the fountain.

Appearing Rooms is a spectacular water sculpture by Danish artist Jeppe Hein (photo by Cjc13). It is located outside the Royal Festival, South Bank Center Complex (which includes Shakespeare’s Globe Theater) and creates walls of water in random patterns, allowing a walk-through as new rooms are formed. It’s great for hot days, so I know you’ve dressed to get wet as you interact with the fountain.

The sculpture/fountain 'Revolving Torsion' by Naum Gabo at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital is located at the center of a garden area above the parking lot (photo by daisybush). Across the Thames from the Parliament Building, it has been a stopping point for tourists as well as for patients and their families. The artist, Naum Gabo, a Russian born sculptor who relocated to England prior to WW2 , was a pioneer of kinetic art, and this is a fine example of his work.

There has been some confusion lately about the Hospital's handling of this artwork and I'm not sure it is operating currently. If you're in the area, stop by, but I suggest you make some inquiries first.

Trafalgar Square: the square itself is surrounded by roads on all sides, but traffic is restricted in the interest of pedestrian safety. The original Trafalgar Square Fountain, first added in 1845, was remodeled in 1939 by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The Trafalgar Square Fountain (Photo, left, by William McMillan; night photo by Diliff ) features mermen and mermaids alongside dolphins, all sculpted in bronze. Trafalgar Square Fountain is actually a set of two fountains for your enjoyment.

Whether you choose to take a dip in the famous fountain or enjoy Trafalgar Square in a drier way, it is worth this stop. Oh yes, I hope you remembered to bring something along to feed the pigeons.

Installed in 1953, the Venus Fountain (photo by Fin Fahey) in Sloane Square, depicts Venus in a traditional classical pose and is the work of highly regarded Twentieth Century sculptor Gilbert Ledward, a local artist.

Well, how'd you like the London fountains? In addition to its fine fountains, it is an international city brimming with ethnic restaurants serving up delicious meals. So, before you retire for the night, I urge you to choose your favorite variety and enjoy a taste treat.

When you get back to your room, your portable water fountain will provide the proper ambience for unwinding from the day's activities. When you return home, I hope you'll have a deeper respect for the history associated with your own indoor water fountain.

The next fountain destination - Versailles.

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