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Barbara Israel Garden Antiques

Bronze Figural Fountain

Bronze Figural Fountain

40.5 ins. high, 31 ins. wide, 16 ins. diameter base


A bronze figural fountain titled Joy Fountain by American sculptor, Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons (1878-1956), with central cylindrical baluster and shallow bowl flanked by two cherubic children, each standing on tiptoe and gripping the edge of the bowl, the whole on integral octagonal base, inscribed on the base E.B. PARSONS and ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N.Y., American, ca. 1930 (original cast in 1919). 

Edith Barretto Parsons was born in Houston, VA in 1878. In 1901 and 1902 she studied at the Art Students’ League under the guidance of Daniel Chester French. By 1904, she had completed several sculptures and her notoriety was such that she was selected to complete figures for the Liberal Arts Building at the St. Louis Exposition (1904). In the years following, she did a number of memorial sculptures, including a soldiers’ monument in Summit, NJ, in addition to several portrait busts. She is most famous, however, for her fountain figures of spirited children and animals. A related fountain figure, Frog Baby, was exhibited at the Architectural League in New York in 1917 and an example of the figure was installed in 1934 at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, one of the foremost sculpture gardens in the U.S. (founded by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1931). An example of the Joy Fountain was in the collection of Old Westbury Gardens in Long Island, NY. Parsons was one of a group of talented women sculptors, including Janet Scudder (1875-1940) and Harriet Frishmuth (1880-1979), all active at the beginning of the 20th century, whose work had been relegated to the garden by a male-dominated art world. Although at the time this was a sign that their artistic output was somewhat dismissed as not serious enough and overly sentimental, their work is now highly acclaimed and beloved.