Edinburgh Castle Collection
THE ROSS FOUNTAIN
The Ross Fountain was installed in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872.
It was cast near Paris, France in the Durenne ironworks in the early 1860’s. It was an exhibit in the Great Exhibition in London in 1862 and was purchased for Edinburgh by Daniel Ross a local gun maker and philanthropist.
It was transported to Leith and arrived in September 1872 in 122 pieces and after great dileberation as to where to put it, it was finally assembled in its current location, where it has remained ever since.
The gold coloured iron structure shows a standing naked woman at the top surrounded by four more seated naked nymphettes representing the arts, science, poetry and industry. Below the first tier are a collection of mermaids.
The celebration of the naked female is typical of classical French design, but it wasn’t appreciated by everyone, Dean Ramsay (1793 – 1872) whose church, St. John’s was near by called the fountain “grossly indecent and disgusting”
The flow of water was disrupted by broken pipework and was dry for over five years until in 2001 a partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council and East of Scotland Water
carried out repairs and allowed the fountain to be displayed in it’s full working glory.
The Ross fountain is now a ‘B’ listed structure of historic importance.
extracted from Princes-Street.com