The Italian Fountain, Beale Park, Berkshire, by Oscar Spalmach (Italian, 1864-1917), who carved them in Carrrar marble in the the Roman studio of Orazio Andreoni at the turn of the nineteenth century. The fountain, which features four Naiads riding hippocamps while a boy in the center rides a dolphin, was originally in Lea Park. According to the Beale Park website, “Gilbert Beale, the Park’s founder, loved all things that were different, and brought many unusual and curious pieces together. The most notable of these is a charging horse called The Valkyrie, which dominates the pathway leading to the Pavilion. Another outstanding exhibit is the Italian Fountain: commissioned by Whitaker Wright in the late 1890s and made of marble, it creates movement in the Park with a steady trickle of water.”
Like Spalmach's The Oceanides at York House in Twickenham, this fountain features horselike mythical sea creatures and nude femle forms in a variety poses that show both the sculptor's virtuosity in portraying human bodies in movement and his non-classical love of wild action. Somewhat bizarrely, the young women, some of whom ride astride their sea creatures while others ride sitting sideways, hold short oars or paddles in one hand, as if they are striking something — the waves to stir up a storm? — George P. Landow.
Last modified 20 May 2011