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When it comes to recreating the beautiful Victorian and Edwardian garden settings, the ideal resource comes from James Pulham and Son’s works.  James Pulham created a business in landscaping, constructing rock gardens, ferneries and follies, as well as creating beautiful Victorian terra cotta garden ornaments. These ornaments would include vases, urns, figurines, and stunning fountains.

The fountains created by Pulham and Son were built to suit their clients’ needs. They came in a variety of sizes and styles, ensuring they would complement the landscape perfectly. There work was so grand, they were given the great honor to be featured in the International Exhibit, as well as the Great Exhibit in London, where they won medals.

Domestic Fountains

The fountain featured in Figure 1 features the three standard elements of Pulhams style. The first element is the ‘quadrafoil’  basin,  a unique and exciting focal point, one recent replication of this beautiful quadrafoil basin is the Palazzo Urn fountain. The second element is the hollow terra cotta pedestal. The firm would use these pedestals as a support for vases or urns as well. The third element is the cement vase finial, that acts as the fountain bowl. This fountain is over 100 years old, and still works to this day!

The fountain features in Figure 2 is a style known as the ‘Bespoke’ Design, meaning the fountain is tailored to the owners style, or custom made. This fountain sits in the grounds of a country home, and features a round basin with a pedestal featuring Pulham’s unique rock gardening style. This fountain features little pockets that can be planted, perfect for water loving plants. The final element of this fountain is the wide rimmed fluted bowl, with an ornate cherub in the center.

The fountain featured in Figure Three is a remarkable piece, built over 90 years ago for a garden on a country house, it remains full of detail and beauty. This fountain was constructed of artificial marble, known as ‘scagliola’, instead of rock or cement. The beautiful swan and fountain adds a stunning ornament to any setting!

Large Ornamental Fountains

The ‘Hebe Fountain’ was a grand outdoor fountain built by the second James Pulham, for the home Henry Reed in Kent. This fountain was featured in the 1862 Grand Exhibit, standing over 15 feet high. The stunning finial topping this fountain was created after the Greek Goddess of Youth.

Unfortunately, Reed soon tired of his estate, and moved on, leaving it to slowly deteriorate. The property was taken by the War Damage Commission for the War Effort of 1943, where the property faced further decomposition, and due to a fire in 1958, the house was completely demolished.

The Turnbridge Wells Borough council took over the estate, with the goal of creating a public park. The fountain was missing the Hebe finial and the terra cotta tritons that were once on the corner pedestals. In 2001 the council made a joint application with the UK Heritage Lottery Fund, creating a grant to restore the fountain, as well as the estate, to its former beauty.

 Figure Four is beautiful replica of the ‘Hebe’s Fountain’. Complete in 2005, the figurine of Hebe was recast, but the council decided not to replace the tritons, as they felt they would be susceptible to vandals. The fountain is working beautifully, a wonderful centerpiece for this park!

The Pierremont Fountain, located in Darlington, County Durham, is another Pulham fountain that was granted restoration from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This fountain was originally constructed for the Pierremont county estate for Henry Pease, a son of Edward Pease, the “Father of the Railways” in Britain.

Henry died in 1881, and the estates were run by his wife Mary. Upon her death in 1909, the estate was sold, and the mansion was turned into flats. The intricate fountain was moved to Darlington’s South Park.

The 20th Century took a heavy toll on the fountain, as it faced immense damage as the result of vandals. It was restored in 2005, seen in Figure 5, returned to its full glory. The vases featured around the basin were completely re-made, and have to be pulled for repair every so often still.

The Kew Fountain is the Pulham Fountain that will conclude this article. Created for the entrance of the Kew Horticultural Gardens, during the Grand Exhibition on 1862, it has long thought to be lost. In an article that was previously written about this fountain, featuring the sketch of Figure 6, a fountain restorer made a contact saying the sketch looked very much like a fountain he has just restored.

The fountain (Figure 6) now stands in the Bellagio Hotel, in Las Vegas, and although it features definite differences, it  was a good effort, and creates a beautiful entrance for its new home! 

 



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