The creation of the new marble fountain for Kenilworth Castle was part of a larger project undertaken by English Heritage to restore Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Garden to the north side of the keep, with the intention of enhancing the experience of visiting the site.
The evidence for the form of the garden and fountain was fairly extensive, based on written descriptions from 1575, a painting dating from 1620, and recent archeological findings. In combination with research into comparative material from the period, the English Heritage team produced a measured drawing detailing the design of the fountain. The job of the masonry and carving team of Fairhaven Stone was to realise the design in marble within a 15 month programme so that the new garden could open to the public for Easter 2009.
The scope of the work involved further design development, both to detail the masonry structure and to realise the sculptural elements. The latter required the modelling of 8 full size relief panels in clay as a guide for the carvers, and a large scale study of the pair of Atlas figures which support the globe at the centre from which the water falls.
All the masonry and carving work was undertaken in-house. The former was brought to a fine honed light polish, contrasting with an off-the chisel texture to the latter, which gave expression and character to the carved surfaces.
The quality of the sculptural design and the execution of the carving and marble masonry had to satisfy a very discerning panel of experts acting for English Heritage, for whom this was a flagship project. In the event, the fountain was produced on time, in budget and to the enthusiastic approval of all.