This charming French fountain piece with triple dolphin spouts was made circa 1900. The dolphins are made from reconstituted stone, which is natural limestone stone that has been ground up into smaller fragments, then mixed with a type of cement. The result is density and texture that looks nearly identical to carved stone.
These stone dolphins have a light gray color, although a coating of lichen and moss has given them a multi-colored patina. The three dolphins are lined up next to each other with their tails intertwined behind their bodies. Each mouth of the dolphins has a half inch circular hole for dispensing water. The holes angle downwards, indicating that the plumbing would come from underneath the stone.
Our dolphins are after the Italian Baroque sculptor and architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In antiquity, dolphins were almost always portrayed as gentle beings. It was not until Bernini’s “Putto on a Dolphin” statue (circa 1618), that dolphins were given a visage with this very distinct, recognizable and classic appearance. Today, this unique dolphin sculpture would make a wonderful fountain piece. It can also be displayed as a decorative item on a table or pedestal.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with old repairs and small losses, including part of a dolphin tail. Traces of lichen and moss, especially on the crown of the dolphins’ heads. The fountain piece has developed a much sought-after patina with green, brown, and dark gray hues found all over the stone.
H - 17 1/2, W - 13 1/4, D - 10
Antique French Stone Fountain Piece with Triple Dolphin Spouts, Circa 1900
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