|Wallace fountain ("large" model)|
(photo: Wikimedia Commons)
These small cast-iron sculptures were installed in the 19th century by the British philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace and designed by the French sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg. Wallace, who inherited a fortune from his father, was already well known for his acts of charity.
Paris was in a bad state at the time. During the Siege of Paris and the Commune the water supply infrastructure had been severely damaged. Prices rose so high that many poor people could not afford clean drinking water. Wallace, who was a genuine believer in good old fashioned Christian charity, felt morally bound to save the poor from turning to cheap alcohol. By funding the installation of water fountains he provided Parisians, rich and poor, with a reliable source of clean drinking water. Even today, his fountains are a valuable amenity to homeless people in the city.
|Parisians drinking from a |
Wallace fountain (1911)
There are other models of Wallace fountain, but this one is by far the most common.
The fountains were manufactured in Sommevoire, a commune in the Haute-Marne department in north-eastern France.
Richard Wallace, the philanthropist who gave Paris these precious and practical monuments, is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
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