Fountain

Nell Gwynne - Sloane Square

Erection date: 26/10/1953

Inscription

{Running around the urn near the top:}
Sweet Thames run softly till I end my song {quote from Prothalamion by Spenser

{Running around the urn near the bottom:}
Gilbert Ledward RA 1952
Presented by the Royal Academy of Arts through the Leighton Fund

{Under the figures:}
Charles II and Nell Gwynn

She's manipulating a fan but meanwhile, unnoticed by Nell, her dress has slipped off her right shoulder causing a costume malfunction.

Site: Nell Gwynne & Charles II (2 memorials)

SW1, Sloane Square

There seems to be some connection between Nell and this area so we asked the very knowledgeable Dave Walker, the Local Studies Librarian at Kensington Central Library, who confirmed that there are many traditions about Nell's Chelsea connections, in particular the establishment of the Royal Hospital, but that many of them are frequently denied by historians. Dave tells us that the Chelsea pageant of 1908 included a lady dressed as Nell. At Chelsea we learn that "Charles II and Nell Gwynne were chosen by Ledward to reflect the journey along ‘the King's Private Road’ that Charles II would have taken to Nell’s residence at Sands End at the other end of the King’s Road."

Bonus fact: The statue atop the fountain represents Venus and, according to Greta Scacchi interviewed by the Guardian in 2008, the model was Pamela Carsinga, who later became Greta’s mother. In 1952 Pamela was training to become a member of the Bluebell Girls dancing troupe and paid her way by modelling for artists in Chelsea.

2019: The Library Time Machine hold a model for this fountain. Their post has a photo taken at the fountain's inauguration by Sir Gerald Kelly.

2024: We are grateful to SC who sent us a copy of an article in the West London Press, 9 October 1953:

P.R.A. WILL PERFOM FOUNTAIN CEREMONY
PRESIDENT of the Royal Academy, Sir Gerald Kelly, will officially inaugurate Mr. Gilbert Ledward's bronze fountain in Sloane Square, Chelsea, on Monday, October 26.

The fountain has been presented to Chelsea by the Royal Academy of Arts, through the Leighton Fund, a trust founded by two sisters of Lord Leighton, a former president of the Royal Academy, for the purpose of placing pictures and other works of art in or near public buildings.

The fountain consists of a vase-shaped bronze basin surmounted by a bronze female figure holding a shell, and set in an octagonal pool lined with blue tiles. The figure is over life-size. The complete fountain is 11ft. in height. Water will flow from the vase into the surrounding pool, and a mist jet from the top of the shell will send up a fine spray, thus keeping the bronze figure and basin permanently wet.

The moulding in Portland stone of the retaining wall of the surrounding pool has been designed by Mr. Edward Maufe, R.A. Mr. Ledward has chosen a local theme for the continuous frieze in relief which decorates the vase. It is an allegorical treatment of the romance of Charles II and Nell Gwynn. Charles II not only founded the Royal Hospital, but also laid out the King's Road - originally a private thoroughfare across the site of what is now Sloane Square.

That last statement answers our query about the location for this fountain.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Nell Gwynne - Sloane Square

Subjects commemorated i

Nell Gwynne

Eleanor Gwyn, Gwynn, Gwynne, whatever.  Born Hereford. Rumoured to have lived...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Nell Gwynne - Sloane Square

Created by i

Leighton Fund

Originated as the bequest left by Lord Leighton in 1896. Bob Speel provides s...

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Sir Gerald Kelly

Portrait painter. Born Paddington. Died at home, 117 Gloucester Place. In the...

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Gilbert Ledward

Sculptor. born Chelsea. Studied under EdouardLantéri. Served in WW1 initially...

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Edward Maufe

Architect. Born in Yorkshire as Edward Brantwood Muff into a family which, in...

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Edmund Spenser

Poet.  Probably born in East or West Smithfield. Best known for the epic poem...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Nell Gwynne - Sloane Square

Also at this site i

Charles II - Sloane Square

Charles II - Sloane Square

{Running around the urn near the top:} Sweet Thames run softly till I end my ...

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There seems to be some connection between Nell and this area so we asked the very knowledgeable Dave Walker, the Local Studies Librarian ...

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