Fountain comes from the latin word fons which means source or spring. The ancient Greeks had aqueducts that terminated in fountains for drinking and washing. The Romans mastered the aqueduct. Excavations at Pompeii show civic works including fountains at regular intervals along public streets. These were fed from the aqueducts via lead pipes. Wealthy Romans would have had fountains in their atriums.
The city of ancient Rome had nine aqueducts which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins as well as private and Imperial households. During the Middle Ages, fountains flourished in Islamic gardens while the ancient aqueducts and fountains in the West fell into disrepair. The rebirth of classicism, the Renaissance, saw a revival of fountains. The big change occurred in the 19th century with steam pumps. In 1845, new fountains were erected in Trafalgar Square with were powered with steam pumps rather than the age old use of gravity. By the end of the century, homes were directly supplied with water and fountains became purely decorative.
Like so many beautiful objects, fountains have a long and functional history which you can ponder while you enjoy this water flowing from this beautiful example for sale in our June 7, 2018 Patio Party: Garden, Patio and Outdoor Pursuits auction.