As the Wallace fountains celebrate their 150th anniversary in 2022, a new one has just been installed at the Carnavalet museum. She comes to join her hundred colleagues already present on the Parisian territory. On this occasion, a look back at the history of these iconic fountains born from the generosity of a British philanthropist.
Sir Richard Wallace’s gift to Parisians
The drinking water supply of Paris is a major issue at all periods of its history. Following the siege of Paris in 1871, during which the population suffered from a lack of drinking water, Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890) financed the construction of fifty drinking fountains. The generous donation from this English philanthropist completes the network of fountains providing drinking water to Parisians. These fountains which take the name of Wallace are of two distinct types: the large caryatid model, and the wall model.
They represent an allegory
Designed as true works of art, the Wallace Fountains are adorned with four caryatids, each representing an allegory: Simplicity, Goodness, Sobriety and Charity. Today, 107 can be admired in the streets of the capital. The fountains function as on the first day and provide drinking water to tourists and Parisians. In addition to the fountain installed on April 13 in Carnavalet, another fountain will be installed in Place Denfert-Rochereau in the course of 2022.
A big party to celebrate the anniversary
At the Carnavalet museum, a cycle of conferences on fountains and street furniture is planned for the fall. A big party will take place on September 24 and 25 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Wallace Fountains. To honor this emblematic Parisian heritage, the City of Paris, the water company, Eau de Paris, the foundry that manufactures the fountains, GHM Sommevoire, the British Embassy in Paris and the Société des Fontaines Wallace will be the organizers.
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