|Date||23 May 2015|
|Location||William Brown Street, Liverpool||SJ 35000 90757; 53.40959°N, 2.97928°W|
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Fell Steble, who served as Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1874-75 and 1876, donated £1000 to the City Council for the erection of a fountain in an empty plot on the former site of Islington Market between the Walker Art Gallery and St George’s Hall in the ‘cultural quarter’ of the William Brown Street area of the city centre. The seven-metre high fountain was unveiled in 1879 and, although the Liverpool Mercury had reported in February 1878 that a preliminary trial had been of a ‘highly satisfactory character’, the water pressure was initially disappointingly low. Water was later pumped by a steam pump in the basement of St George’s Hall, but its noise disrupted proceedings in the courts above.
The fountain was cast by W T Allen & Co of London and is a copy of a work created for a Paris exhibition (various sources disagree on which one – the 1855 or 1867 Exposition Universelle). There is also some disagreement as to the original artist – older sources credit W Cunliffe, but others variously attribute it to Paul Liénard, Jean Auguste Edouard Liénard or Michel Joseph Napoléon Liénard. There are said to be over 16 versions of the fountain, including ones in Boston (note the differences in the upper part of the fountain), Bordeaux, Lyon, Geneva and Buenos Aires.
Steble Fountain comprises a nine-metre-diameter circular stone basin with a cast-iron and bronze cruciform centrepiece featuring sculptures of the mythological Greek figures Poseidon and his sea-goddess wife Amphitrite and nereid Galatea and river spirit Acis. Above the statues are two smaller basins surmounted by a mermaid bearing a cornucopia.
The fountain, which received a Grade II* listing in 1952, was restored in 1992 and again in 2013.