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Edinburgh, West Princes Street Gardens, Ross Fountain

Fountain (19th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, West Princes Street Gardens, Ross Fountain

Classification Fountain (19th Century)

Canmore ID 111804

Site Number NT27SW 263

NGR NT 24969 73658

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

First 100 images shown. See the Collections panel (below) for a link to all digital images.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Architecture Notes

NT27SW 263 24969 73658

Architect: Peddie & Kinnear

A Durenne 1869 - ironfounder, supplied bronze figures

Maitre des Forges, 30 Rue de la Verrerie, Paris.

Reference May 11, 1867, The Builder.


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (11 June 2001)

Large fountain with four female figures seated between semi-circular basins with consoles. One holds a lyre, another a globe (and compass?) a third holds a mallet (?) and governor mechanism (?). The fourth held a palette and artist's brush.

Surmounted by a standing female figure with cornucopia. Below are four basins with two mermaids seated by each, pouring water into the basins from urns on their shoulders.

At the base is a large twelve-sided pool decorated on the outside with mythical beasts' heads. Beyond that is a large circular pool.

4 female figures represent poetry, science, industry and art.

See Inscriptions

Inscriptions : On metal plaque on stand beyond side of fountain (erected 2001):

THE ROSS FOUNTAIN made of cast-iron at the foundry / of ANTOINE DURENNE near Paris, France was shown at the / Exhibition of 1862 in London. / DANIEL ROSS, a local gun-maker interested in art and natural / science, bought and gifted it to the City of Edinburgh. It was / shipped in 122 pieces and arrived at Leith in September 1869. / Sadly, he died before the fountain was operational in 1872. / The figures were sculpted by JEAN-BAPTISTE KLAGMANN / who also made works for the Louvre and de Medici fountains in / Paris. The first tier has lion's head spouts and mermaid figures / with flowing urns, sitting on scallop-shell basins. The four upper / figures depict Science, Art, Poetry and Industry. At the top a / beautifully modelled figure holds a cornucopia-cup of plenty. / In 2001 the fountain was fully restored in a collaboration between / The City of Edinburgh Council and East of Scotland Water.




East of Scotland Water

Signatures : On each of the four sides of the fountain base:


Design period : 1862 - 1872

Year of unveiling : 1869 - 1872

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0179)

Photographic Survey (1 October 2008)

Photographed by the Threatened Buildinsg Survey as part of the wider survey of structures and memorials in Princes Street Gardens.


Watching Brief (May 2017 - September 2017)

NT 24969 73658 A watching brief was carried out, May – October 2017, during groundworks associated with the restoration of the Ross Fountain. This included the excavation of deep trenches for new foundations and an underground water storage tank. Near the base of the excavations, at c4m below the ground surface, a layer of organic rich waterlogged deposits was uncovered. These may relate to the Nor’ Loch, which was drained in the 19th century. Environmental samples were taken which may provide information on the Nor’ Loch.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Ross Development Trust and HES

Bob Will – GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Photographic Survey (2017)

Photographic and digital video record of the dismantling of the fountain and the restoration/conservation work carried out in Wigan.

Ross Fountain underwent restoration and conservation at Lost Art, Wigan on behalf of the Ross Trust. Replacement castings were required where damage too great to save the original. The castings were undertaken at JT and E Castings, Haigh Foundry, Wigan, Lancashire (founded 1950).

Information from HES (Miriam McDonald, Investigator, Survey and Recording Section), December 2017.


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