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The Fountains

The Fountains

Peterhof
 
 

The Terrace Fountains and Cascades

Each of the terraced slopes which stretch for a hundred metres on either side of the Great Cascade is decorated with a group of marble cascades and single-jet fountains. Each group is made up of five cascades, linked at the lower end by a marble trough, laid on a low supporting wall of granite, and five round marble pools with fountains in them, symmetrically placed above the cascades.

In accordance with the usual scheme, the cascades have the form of a staircase, with four steps starting from a back wall. Here this scheme is carried out with great taste and artistic economy. The rising back wall of each cascade is shaped as the middle part of a pediment with a cornice, and is decorated with a gilded bronze mask; a clear, bright stream of water spouts from the mask and flows over the steps and into the trough, where a nozzle hidden in tufa sends up a jet of water that reaches to the top of the cascade.

The idea of decorating the terraces with fountains goes back to the period between 1720 and 1723, when the natural slope was reshaped to a design by Michetti in the form of regular terraces supported by a low stone wall. An engraving made by Stepan Korovin in 1724 shows over one hundred terrace fountains of different shape, by way of illustrating Michetti's plan; but none of these were ever created. The terraces were first given fountain decoration in 1799 and 1800. The architect, Franz Brouer, and the fountain-builder, Fiodor Strelnikov, realized a design by Voronikhin, constructing ten cascades of seven steps, made of Pudost limestone and decorated with lead masks, and twenty fountain basins. In 1801 the lead masks of a nymph and a triton were replaced by bronze ones, cast from models by Pierre Louis Agie. Twenty-five years later the number of steps in each cascade was reduced to four; in 1852 and 1853 the Pudost limestone was replaced with Carrara marble, worked by the craftsmen of the Peterhof Stone Works to drawings by Stakenschneider. In 1854 ten round basins were made from marble, and the others were dismantled. The Terrace Fountains remained like this until the War of 1941-45, and were re-created in the same form during the restoration work of 1946-48; the masks for them were made by Leonid Mess.



Terrace Fountains.


Terrace Cascade.
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