Stanford Fountain, Spring St

The Stanford Fountain

The Stanford Fountain has everything that a bride and groom could want for a backdrop for their wedding location photography: classical lines and graceful curves, the possibility of light spilling from a dazzling cloud of water drops, and a sadly romantic history. Centrally placed in the Victorian styled Gordon Reserve, right in front of the Hotel Windsor, and only a small walk to the Parliament buildings, the Stanford Fountain has been one of our top choices for wedding locations at Serendipity Photography. Depending on the mood of the couple and the lighting, at Serendipity we can play this scene many ways, from classical beauty to darkly gothic, or offer a more contemporary approach with strong blues and riotous highlights.

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The fountain has quite a story. Carved by William Stanford during a twenty-two year tenure at Pentridge Prison, the innocent subject of the sculpture belies tribulations of it’s origins. Stanford, an apparently “intractable” horse thief, spent two stretches in prison, both due largely to grand theft horse. During his second prison sentence Stanford, originally a stonemason’s apprentice, became obsessed with carving delicate figures out of anything he could find. The prison chaplain encouraged this activity, sensing the possibility of rehabilitation, and Stanford was permitted tools and the option of classes from Charles Summers, a famous contemporary sculptor who had a studio on the fashionable Collins Street. With the development of his skills, Stanford submitted a proposal for a public fountain, and over four years carved the ambitious fountain out of bluestone, the only material available to him from the prison quarry. In the face of almost insurmountable adversity, Stanford produced the joyous carvings and aesthetically sophisticated design which is still functioning in the Gordon Reserve today.

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The design of the fountain is ambitiously baroque, expressing the lavishly ornate aesthetic of that period in it’s richly carved details. The eight eagles were modelled on a stuffed eagle-hawk that Stanford was permitted to use, and demonstrate the exquisite attention to detail that adds an element of refinement to the overall fountain. Stanford Fountain is a truly elegant and traditional piece, with the young boy — modelled on the governor’s son — a charmingly innocent apex to a fountain that exemplifies the riotous joy of water, and the symbolic freedom of nature, no doubt a subject close to Stanford’s heart.

Serendipity Photography Nearby Favourite Wedding Locations

The Stanford fountain is perfectly situated right in the middle of one of the most gracious aspects of central Melbourne, in Gordon Reserve. Bridal couples are only a minutes walk away from some of the loveliest sites in the city centre, perfect in winter in inclement weather.

The fountain or in the adjacent to the magnificence of Parliament House  — one of the finest examples of civic architecture from the colonial period of the British Empire anywhere in the world. From Parliament couples can stroll across to the Renaaisance styled Old Treasury building, graciously proportioned, with a central portico derived from the “Italian palazzo” form, an upper story colonnaded arcade, and beautiful elaborate window pilasters and pediments. Finally a visit to Melbourne’s only surviving grand Victorian era hotel, the Hotel Windsor will pay many benefits in creating beautiful wedding photography. A significant heritage site, the Hotel Windsor is a benchmark of high Victorian architecture, the Hotel Windsor is one of Melbourne’s most beloved heritage buildings.

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