Sunday, 16 November 2008


Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanged cover,

Byron Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Canto the Fourth CXVIII

Egeria's fountain : central spot
Of this our shining temple --- hewed
Its reservoir from fragment rude,
Of Cintra's solid marble, led
From Serra's steep, its rocky bed ;
And raised within its circle wide,
On structure, rich Carrara's spoil,
Ruling the splashing water's moil,
Behold the fabled Nymph descried.

Thomas Cargill
Fairylife in Fairyland

The watery nymph has flowed away. The central spot of this shining temple stands forlorn.
Egeria's fountain marks the crossing of Monserrate's central corridor and the North and South Porticos. The statue is gone, but there remains a fine plinth and basin as decribed by Cargill. The white marble statue of a young woman bathing stood about 80 cm high.

Similar statue auctioned at Christies: A fine Italian marble figure of the water nymph Egeria By Giulio Monteverde, Rome, Dated 1874 The naturalistic base signed and dated to the back Monteverde/Roma/1874, on circular stepped partial pedestal with octagonal base.

From Cargill's poem we learn not only the subject of the fountain, but also that the basin, carved with an ivy motif was made locally, and that the pedastal is of Italian manufacture.

Egeria was a water nymph, sometimes ranked as the goddess of fountains.

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