The fountain

Verona fountain in the wall garden

In the recent warm and sunny weather we took the opportunity to give the fountain in the Wall Garden a thorough spring clean.

Ludwig and family in front of the fountain
Ludwig and family in front of the fountain

The Wall Garden fountain

The fountain in the centre of the wall garden was installed in 1909 by Ludwig Messel. Originally bought to replace a sundial, the fountain sits in a large marble urn and has four faces and claw feet. Each face is unique and points in a different compass direction.  

It’s made of red Verona marble which is usually quite soft, but because the fountain has spent its life outdoors, it’s become weathered and hardy. This means we can use stronger techniques to clean it than we would with indoor marble or stone. This is needed because a build-up of green and black algae had developed on the marble surface.

 

The house team cleaning the fountain
The house team cleaning the fountain

Conservation clean 

We used bristle brushes with a very small amount of non-ionic detergent (sensitive washing up liquid) in clean lukewarm water. This meant that we had something to scrub at the tough algae with, but was also gentle enough to not damage the marble surface.

To reach the upper half of the fountain we had to stand on the fountain’s rim in our wellies. Thankfully nobody fell in!

Lichen on rim of fountain
Lichen on rim of fountain

Lichen

We left rather a lot of dark spots around the bowl of the fountain. These are lichen which as  a protected organism is something  we cannot remove. This would be very difficult to do anyway, as it has a strong grip on the surface of the marble.

You can see the fountain in the centre of the wall garden which is currently surrounded by fabulous spring flowers and trees just coming into leaf.