This 1870s cast-iron sculpture is one of the more than 77 public water fountains scattered throughout Paris, financed, conceived, and drawn by Sir Richard Wallace, a British billionaire. He directed that these fountains be both useful and beautiful, blending in with his adopted city. The fountain above was the original design of Wallace, sculpted by Charles-Auguste Lebourg, the first of four designs to be installed. This one in the Marais (4ième arr.) incorporates 4 caryatids representing "kindness," "simplicity," "charity," and "sobriety" and features dolphins on the dome.

For years I saw these fountains and never knew the story behind them, how they have for over a century provided potable water to Parisians and visitors. Most of them are still in use.

In a few weeks I will be looking for the other three styles... just because.