Friday, 30 December 2016

Visit Bath and Discover the Story Behind the Statues

Bath is by no means lacking in the monuments department, but rather than just enjoying the view (and who wouldn’t), have you ever wondered what the story behind each of them is?

One statue which you’ll definitely see if you go and visit Bath Abbey is the statue known as the Rebecca Fountain. This white marble fountain shows a young girl in a loose eastern-style dress pouring water from a tall urn into a bowl which is held up by pillars. On the base of the statue is carved “take the water of life freely” and “water is best”. The statue was erected in 1861 by the Bath Temperance Association and was installed to promote and make provision for the option of choosing to drink water rather than alcohol. In the 1860s

In the nearby Parade Gardens is a more unusual statue. Unusual at least in the fact that the figure which the bronze statue depicts – that of a young Amadeus Mozart playing a violin, is not a famous resident of Bath. The reason that Mozart can be found in Bath is that the statue was commissioned by the City of Bath under the terms of the Purnell Trust which was fulfilling the death-bed wish of Mrs Purnell. Mrs Purnell’s son Mark was a great lover of music and of the city of Bath. Bath’s annual Mozartfest was also established in Mark’s memory. The statue of Mozart was unveiled in 1991.   

A highly popular theme worth mentioning when talking about Bath sculptures and statues is that of lions. Bath has over 500 lions displayed in various forms around the city and this is to reflect the royal heritage of the city. In fact, Bath’s Coat of Arms also features a lion, and this represents the crowning of King Edgar, the first king of all England, which took place in Bath in 973 AD. If you’re going lion spotting, then the two bronze lions guarding the Queens Gate entrance to Victoria Park are well worth a look.

Not quite statues, but nevertheless iconic members of Bath’s monuments, are Bath’s obelisks.

The obelisk which is next to the entrance of the Parade Gardens was erected in 1734 to celebrate the fact that William VI, Prince of Orange, came to Bath to have his illness cured. This is also why the area it’s located in is known as Orange Grove.

Another obelisk to honour a prince; four years later the obelisk in Queen Square was erected and paid for by Beau Nash to record a visit to the city by Frederick Prince of Wales. Then, still royalty but not a prince, the obelisk in Victoria Park was dedicated to Queen Victoria, who opened Victoria Park in 1830 as an 11-year-old princess. The foundation stone of this obelisk was laid in 1837. Sadly she never saw it as she never returned to Bath after she opened Victoria Park. 

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