Created By: Helen Hickey
William Stanford’s bluestone fountain (c. 1870) features a boy on the upper tier, encircled by birds and fish on the lower tier. This scene of innocence was created while Stanford was serving a sentence of 16 years in Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison. Stanford carved the fountain from bluestone from the prison quarry, which was the only material available to him. He modelled the fountain’s avian adornments on a stuffed eagle-hawk and modelled the boy on the governor’s son. The fountain was installed in 1871, following Stanford’s release on the grounds of ill health. The Illustrated Australian News reported the fountain was ‘not only a work of great beauty but ... executed under circumstances of extreme difficulty …’. Stanford died in 1880 from ‘stonemasons’ disease’, having inhaled a surfeit of fine dust while creating his beautiful fountain.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Screening Melbourne Laneway Walk