Recclesia

The Perseus & Andromeda Fountain at Witley Court in Worcestershire is one of the largest fountains in Northern Europe. It was constructed for Lord Ward, the first Earl of Dudley, to the designs of William Andrews Nesfield, at that time the most sought after garden landscape architect in the country.

Recclesia were commissioned to undertake a full condition survey of the Portland Stone fountain, carry out trials for its repair and cleaning, and draw up a schedule of remedial works.

  • Client English Heritage
  • Architect English Heritage
  • Status Grade I Listed

The Full Story

Recclesia was commissioned by English Heritage to undertake a detailed condition survey of this quite wonderful fountain, carry out tests for cleaning methods and repair, and to design a scheme of remedial work. Following the draining of the rowing lake around the fountain, scaffolding was erected and the survey work undertaken at close quarters.

Every section of the fountain was examined in detail, with the structure divided into small sections and defects noted to each. The report was presented as a perfectly-referenced photographic schedule alongside a written report, schedule of works and specification for the repairs.

At the same time, Recclesia also undertook cleaning trials using hand-tools, Torc system and Doff system in order to etablish the most effective cleaning techniques and to inform the conservation proposals.

History

The Perseus & Andromeda Fountain at Witley Court was constructed for Lord Ward, the first Earl of Dudley, to the designs of William Andrews Nesfield, at that time the most sought after garden landscape architect in the Kingdom. The Portland stone statues represent the classical myth of the hero Perseus riding the winged horse Pegasus, rescuing the heroine Andromeda, who has been chained to a rock by the jealous sea-god Poseidon and battling a sea monster which is attempting to devour Andromeda. The base of the fountain is encircled by alternating grotesque fish and shells and is set in shaped render-lined brick pool.

The engineers for the fountain were Easton & Co. To supply the water required, 4,000 gallons of water were pumped from a nearby pool to a reservoir more than half a mile away and 30 metres above the level of the house. The main jet from the sea monster's mouth reached a height of 36 metres.

The fountain was carved in London at the studio of James Forsyth, whose name is inscribed secretly on the fountain, and transported to Worcester on a specially made rail carriage .The next stage of the journey from Worcester to Witley was even more incredible as the stonework was loaded onto a specially constructed wagon pulled by 17 shire horses and since the road at Little Witley was too steep, it had to be raised by 15-20 feet.

For more information about the Forsyth Brothers, follow this link.