The Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Cast near Paris, France in the Durenne Ironworks in the early 1860’s. It was an exhibit in the Great Exhibition in London in 1862 and was purchased for Edinburgh by Daniel Ross a local gun maker and philanthropist. After much deliberation as to what to do with it, it was finally assembled in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872.
The gold coloured iron structure shows a standing naked woman at the top surrounded by four more seated naked nymphettes representing the arts, science, poetry and industry. Below the first tier are a collection of mermaids.
The celebration of the naked female is typical of classical French design, but it wasn’t appreciated by everyone, Dean Ramsay (1793 – 1872) whose church, St. John’s was nearby, called the fountain “grossly indecent and disgusting”.
Behind the fountain, nestled in the trees is St. Cuthbert’s Church.
This view shows the twin Cupolas as well as the spire at the other end of the church. Tradition has it that St. Cuthbert, the famed monk-bishop of Lindisfarne, stopped by the shores of the Nor’ Loch (a lake now replaced with Princes Street Gardens) just below Edinburgh Castle and built a little hut there. This is the site of St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church, whose current incarnation dates from the 19th century but is built over at least six earlier places of worship. The first record of St. Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh is in 1127, when King David I gave all the land below the Castle to St Cuthbert’s. Little is known of the church’s history from the 12th to the 16th century, aside from occasional references in Vatican documents.