Archibald Fountain

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney

Public Art : Archibald Fountain

Nickname : Apollo's Pool

Sculptor : © Francois Sicard (1862-1934)

Date : Unveiled 14th March 1932

Description : The Archibald Fountain features a bronze Apollo surrounded by other mythical figures whilst horses’ heads, dolphins and an occassional tortoise spray jets of water into the air and onto anyone who gets too close (especially on windy days). The statue of Apollo placed high in the centre of the fountain is depicted holding out his right arm, whilst in his left hand he holds the Lyre. The horse heads represent Apollo's chariot horses .
The large basin is divided into three different sections, one representing Diana (Goddess of Purity), one representing Jason and the Golden Fleece and the last representing Theseus slaying Minotaur.

Location: Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

Commissioned By : Bequeathed in the will of John Feltham Archibald to the City of Sydney

Cost : Apollo alone cost £18,000

Background to Jules Francois Archibald : Before we get utterly confused John Feltham Archibald and Jules Francois Archibald are one in the same person, he changed his name. I haven't got an actual date when he swapped his name, but I do know it was because he loved the French culture. So who was J.F. Archibald ? John Feltham Archibald (1856-1919) was born in Kildare, Geelong, Victoria. In his early years he worked as a journalist, public servant and miner in Victoria and Queensland before heading to Sydney. In the 1880s Archibald founded the Bulletin newspaper, with fellow journalist John Hayne. They both argued over the name of the weekly newspaper, Haynes wanting 'The Tribune', Archibald 'The Lone Hand' in the end they named it after a popular San Francisco paper. The Bulletin would prove to be an instant success with contributions from journalists to unionists, making the paper an interesting read. Archibalds later years were sprinkled with signs of mental illness and he spent some time in asylums. Following his death in 1919,  he made the two bequests, one for funds to be spent for the Archibald Fountain and the second for an art prize to be established for portraiture. Both legacies have stood the test of time, the Archibald Fountain is still considered to be one of the grandest in Australia and the Archibald Prize is the most sought after art prize in Australia. Sadly, however, The Bulletin, closed its doors in February, 2008 (without any prior warning).

History of the Archibald Fountain : The fountain was erected in 1932 at the bequest of J.F. Archibald. Archibald was so fascinated and inspired by French culture he requested a French sculptor be commissioned to create it. The fountain was intended to commemorate the alliance between Australia and France during world War I, but became more a monument to one of Sydney's more flamboyant characters, Mr Archibald.

Well I Never! : When the fountain was erected in the 1930's it was one of the only pieces of public art in Sydney displaying male nudity! Ironically the only other statue was "Sacrifice of War" located at the ANZAC Memorial at the southern end of the park.

Can you believe that the fountain was originally going to include a sculpture of Hercules slaying a lion, until it was kindly pointed out to Sicard that the lion actually represented the 'Mother' country (England) and probably would be frowned upon (imagine having to explain that one to the public!).

Other public art depicting Diana (Goddess of Purity)

Diana and the Hounds (Melbourne)

Archibald Fountain Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia  Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia  Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia  Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia Archibald Fountain

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