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The Fountains

The Fountains


The Basket Fountain

In the middle of the numerous fountains that make up the Cascade there rises the multi-jet Basket Fountain. It is situated in the compositional centre of the ensemble, in front of the Great Grotto. From a tufa ring, some six metres in diameter, in a shallow Baroque-shaped pool, spout twenty-eight curving jets, weaving a pattern which recalls a tracery flower basket. From a smaller ring inside the large one, also made of tufa, eight vertical jets shoot upwards and surround a ninth, six-metre jet, which is the highest in the fountain. Together they look like fantastic flowers, with crystal stalks and splendid pearly heads, swaying in a wide, low tracery basket. Descending in sparkling sprays, the water flows in a foaming torrent down the three steps of the central cascade stairway, the broadest in the cascade, and into the Pool.

Le Blond drew up plans for a multi-jet fountain in front of the Great Grotto as early as 1716; this was known during the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries as the Ring Fountain. Michetti, in his project of 1720-21, retained the design of the fountain with hardly any alterations. After carrying out tests, Sualem twice made changes in the diameter, first of the inner ring pipe, and then of the outer; as a result, the jets spouted higher and with greater force.

The Ring Fountain in its original form was finished in 1723. It consisted of a powerful jet of the menager type - hollow inside - surrounded by two rings of eight vertical jets, one tall and one low. During major restoration work on the Cascade 147 years later, in 1860, Nikolay Benois replaced eight smaller vertical jets in the outer ring with twenty-eight interlacing parabolic jets; and in place of the central menager column he created one single powerful jet. The fountain, thus altered, came to be known as the Basket Fountain. Subsequent minor alterations did not impair either the artistic perfection or the compositional significance of the Great Cascade's largest fountain. The Basket Fountain, destroyed during the Nazi occupation of 1941-44, and restored in 1947, is one of the best in Peterhof; its fine proportions, magnificent display of water, and expressive jet pattern at once attract the visitor's attention.

See also:
· the Siren Fountains;
the Naiad and Triton Fountains

The Basket Fountain.

The Basket Fountain.

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