Conservation Continues on Coalbrookdale's Boy & Swan Fountain

The landmark restoration of Coalbrookdale's famous Boy & Swan Fountain is progressing, under the leadership of specialist metalwork conservator, Peter Meehan.

Peter is the owner of the Much Wenlock based 'Historic Metalwork Conservation Company' and has over 30 years of experience in heritage conservation, particularly in outdoor architectural and engineering pieces.

The fountain was designed by the famous Victorian sculptor, John Bell, and cast by the Coalbrookdale Company before being displayed at the entrance to the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Hyde Park in London.

Following the exhibition, the fountain was purchased by Wolverhampton City Council and installed at the city's New Market, after several years it was moved to nearby West Park where it remained for many years. After falling into disrepair it was removed from public display before being rediscovered in a gardener's shed in the 1950s. The fountain was then returned to Coalbrookdale where it was repaired and re erected as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust's interpretation of the site.

The Boy & Swan design remained in production until the 1930s and several examples remain on display in public gardens all around the world. A version named the Cupid & Swan can be found in San Jose, Costa Rica, having been installed in 1868 to celebrate the installation of a clean water supply.

As part of the project the fountain has been separated into two pieces, cleaned and repainted. When finished, the fountain will sport a new bronze sheen; one of the colours in which the fountain could be ordered at the time of production. The work is being undertaken at a temporary open-workshop, to the rear of Enginuity, where visitors are invited to watch the work take place between 10am and 4pm on weekdays until Friday 21 October.

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