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Late in the afternoon, Bartholdi fountain is beautifully centered in the garden.
The Bartholdi Fountain is a monumental public fountain, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who later created the Statue of Liberty. The fountain was originally made for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is now located at the corner of Independence Avenue and First Street, SW, in the United States Botanic Garden, on the grounds of the United States Capitol, in Washington D.C.
The "Fountain of Light and Water," commonly called the Bartholdi fountain, was created for the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition which celebrated the 100th birthday of the United States. It was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, and it was cast by the Durenne foundry in France, which had won awards for its cast-iron fountains at earlier international expositions in 1862, 1867, and 1873.
When the exposition ended in 1877, Bartholdi did not find any buyers for his fountain. One year later it was purchased by the United States Congress, which offered him only six thousand dollars, half the sum he had originally asked. In 1878, it was placed at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In 1926 it was removed and stored to facilitate completion of the George Meade Memorial, and for landscaping improvements around the Grant Memorial. In 1932, the sculpture was placed at its current location in the United States Botanic Garden, on the grounds of the United States Capitol,
The fountain is composed of a series of basins, supported by sculptures of classical figures. The cast iron is coated with bronze, stands thirty feet high, and weighs thirty thousand pounds. It stands in the center of a large circular marble pool.
Three figures of women, standing on a triangle pedestal with an ornamental design of seas shells and three reptiles spouting water, support the lower cast iron vasque, which is adorned with a circle of twelve lamps. In the center, three kneeling tritons support another, smaller and higher vasque. Water spouts from a crown at the top, cascades down into the smaller vasque, and then down into the larger vasque before spilling into the main basin. The cascade of water was illuminated by the gas lamps (later replaced with electric globes), making it one of the first monuments in Washington, D.C. to be lit at night, and therefore a popular evening destination in the 1880s.
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January 2nd, 2013
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