For art experts and art enthusiasts, the Neptune Fountains might look familiar. Situated on the Promenade, Cheltenham’s very own Neptune Fountain was copied from the work of Bartolomeo Ammannati (1563–1565) in Florence, Italy. The original fountain resides in the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
The Neptune Fountain found on the Promenade was commissioned in 1565 in honor of the matrimony of Francesco I de’ Medici with the Grand Duchess Johanna of Austria.
Resembling the visage of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the Neptune figure was initially meant to be a reference to the Florentines’ dominion over the sea. The figure is situated atop a tall pedestal on an octagonal fountain. With the pedestal decorated with the mythical chained statues of Scylla and Charybdis, the stone sculpture represents the god Neptune in his shell chariot drawn by four sea horses.
The statue was unveiled in October 30 of 1893 and sits at the Promenade opposite the Imperial Rooms. It was designed by Joseph Hall and Richard Lockwood Boulton.
Neptune appears in this statue with flowing hair, clothed in a mantle and wields the trident, the symbol of his power and dominance over the sea. He is flanked on both sides by nymphs and tritons who are sounding the trumpets of shells. The figure of Neptune himself is of immense proportion and his horses are caught in motion. The entire structure in encircled by balusters and vases filled with flowers.
The statuary is made of Portland stone.
On the day that it was opened, The Mayors explained that this statue is merely a part of a large scheme to beautify the Promenade and the large gardens fronting the Promenade Terrace, with plans of converting it one day into an Italian Garden.
Art enthusiasts everywhere would be delighted to discover that The Promenade Apartments is a mere stone’s throw away from this area, which would provide them immediate and hassle-free access to appreciate this statue’s splendor. Call and reserve your rooms at The Promenade Apartments today for your future visits to Cheltenham! Our staff would be glad to help you pick the best dates and self-accommodation rooms for your art visit, in time for the literature festival!