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The Constance Fund

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The Constance Fund

File WORK 20/300 held at The National Archives contains information on the Constance Fund in general and the Diana fountain in Green Park, which was funded by the Constance Fund.

A recent photograph of this fountain is shown to the right.

Diana Fountain by Clack

The “Diana” fountain in Green Park consists of a base comprising three large catchment bowls for display jets, three small drinking bowls and by direct drainage to ground level three drinking bowls for dogs. The base is surmounted by a bronze sculpture depicting tree growth supporting a figure of Diana with hunting dog. The stonework is of Cornish granite. We learn early in the file that the fountain which was already in Green Park was beyond repair (a work by Smirke) and that the Constance Fund had agreed to fund a replacement.

The Constance Fund was set up by the widow, Constance, of the artist Sigismund C.H.Goetze in his memory. Its aim was “to encourage and promote the art of sculpture in London Parks.”

The file opens in 1950 with letters about the existing fountain and Office of Works decide to approach Mrs.Goetze particularly as they had been taken with the fountain in Victoria Park, Bethnall Green which had been funded by the Constance Fund. A letter was written to Mrs.Goetze in April 1950.

In June 1950 the Constance Fund agree to fund the replacement fountain in Green Park and then organised a competition involving six sculptors. Sir William Reid Dick agreed to assist the Constance Fund in making their decision.

The six sculptors involved were Maurice Lambert, Harold Dow, S.Charoux,, G,H. Deeley, E.J.Clack and Hamish Macpherson. By October 1951 we learn that E.J.Clack had won the competition.

Clack’s model was then submited to the Royal Fine Art Commission for their approval but they write on 23rd January 1952 that Clack’s model does not “achieve in their opinion the necessary standard”.

The Minister of Works decides to ignore this advice and Clack is instructed to proceed and in due course we learn that his full size model has gone to the founders, John Galizia in Battersea,

Finally on 30th June the fountain is presented to the Minister of Works by a Mrs.Cippico representing the Constance Fund.

The remaining correspondence covers “care and maintenance” issues. The final two letters in June 1954 concern the supply to the Royal Parks of 100 park chairs by M.W.Shanly (Park Chairs No.2) Limited.

Two further studies of the Diana fountain are shown below in gallery format.

We also learn that Mr.Goetze had made several gifts to Regents Park namely the fountain in Queen Mary’s Gardens, the work of William McMillan, the ornamental wrought iron gates at the entrances of these gardens which were erected in commemoration of King George V’s Silver Jubilee, a large pergola, the oak seats in the large circular rose garden and the two bronze figures by Albert H Hodge “The Lost Bow” and “A Mighty Hunter”. He also made a gift of the avenue of 400 double cherry trees leading from the park into Queen Mary’s Gardens and a Japanese bridge and stone lantern.

A recent photograph of McMillan’ work is shown on the right. McMillan’s work is reminiscent of his fountain in Trafalgar Square.

”McMillan’s fountain in Queen Mary’s Gardens

Goetze had died in 1939 and his paintings decorate the principal floors of the Foreign Office. Constance Goetze died in February 1951. The Constance Fund had also donated the Victoria Park fountain by Bainbridge-Copnall, and a sculpture in Grove Hall Park by Harold Youngman.

At the back of the file are several press cuttings relating to the Diana fountain and also the McMillan one, and several drawings,plus an envelope containing black and white photographs of the Diana fountain.

Another Constance Fund fountain is “The Joy of Life Fountain” in Hyde Park, this by T B Huxley-Jones.

A recent photograph of Huxley-Jones’ work is shown on the right.

”Joy of Life”