Wednesday, 7 November 2012

STANFORD FOUNTAIN

William Stanford Bluestone fountain (ca 1870) is situated on the Gordon Reserve, corner of Spring and Macarthur Streets. William Stanford's bluestone fountain features a boy on the upper tier, encircled by birds and fish on the lower tier. This scene of innocence was created in a far less naive setting. Stanford was apprenticed to a London stonemason before coming to Australia to try his luck on the Bendigo goldfields. When he failed to make his fortune, he turned to horse stealing, and in 1854 was imprisoned for 10 years. He was released after six on ticket-of-leave, but was soon found guilty on two charges of highway robbery and another of horse stealing. The sentences amounted to a total of 22 years, two of which were served as hard labour in irons after Stanford broke out of a supposedly 'escape-proof' gaol in 1861.

In Melbourne's Pentridge Prison, Stanford's talent for drawing and carving was recognised - he carved bones left over from stews - and the prison governor allowed him to turn his hand to carving stone. Local sculptor Charles Summers tutored Stanford, who soon set to carving a fountain from bluestone from the prison quarry, which was the only material available to him. He modelled the fountain's avian adornments on a stuffed eagle-hawk and modelled the boy on the governor's son. The fountain was installed in Carpentaria Place (now known as Gordon Reserve) in 1871, following Stanford's release after he - and his friends petitioned for this on the grounds of his ill health.

The Illustrated Australian News claimed the fountain was 'not only a work of great beauty but...executed under circumstances of extreme difficulty [which for] most men would have been insurmountable'. Stanford received no payment for the fountain but in time became a respected citizen; he established a business in Windsor, which had a reputation for creating fine headstones. Stanford died in 1880 from silicosis ("stonemasons' disease"), having inhaled a surfeit of fine dust while creating his beautiful fountain.

This post is part of the Water World Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Waters meme.









16 comments:

  1. Another fine collection of photos about your city.

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  2. Love love this place. Looks peaceful in the middle of a busy town. ^_^

    Visiting from Water World Wednesday
    Kim,USA

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  3. Very beautiful!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  4. A very interesting post. I especially like the 4th and 6th photos.

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  5. Wonderful photography of life around a beautiful fountain and history besides ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

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  6. It's a beautiful fountain!! And would have been so much work! Nice to see that people still gather around it!!

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  7. What an amazing and talented man!! Not one you'd expect to find in prison! He certainly made an incredible use of his time to the benefit of all! Marvelous captures as always, Nick!!

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  8. Mr Bluestone led quite an interesting life, and he sure created a lovely fountain....thanx for sharing

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  9. Very interesting post! Great photos of the fountain!
    :)

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  10. I am glad you showed the details. Those birds are gorgeous. :)

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  11. What a great fountain. I love all the details you show and the ones you tell us about it. Great post.

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  12. Very nice. I like the last shot.

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  13. The structures and settings are very formal, even if there are people on the scenes. I love most that last shot with a different angle!

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  14. Lovely waterfall, with excellent carving, the water outlet is too amazing, which give it a peculiar look.
    Astounding pic!!
    Gestuz online

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  15. Calling by from the Nature Footsteps Water Meme, fountains are always fascinating.

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