River God Fountain

River God fountain was one of the first major pieces of statuary in the gardens.

A figure of a man on bended knee bearing an open clam shell on his shoulders formed the central feature of the fountain which was erected in the Fitzroy Gardens in 1862. The figure of the River God was designed and cast in concrete by the sculptor, Charles Summers.

It remained in the gardens for nearly a century until it was replaced by the Fountain of the Birds in 1960. In 1996 after nearly forty years absence, the River God figure was renovated, the fountain was rebuilt, not in its original position but at the north end of the gardens at the junction of paths facing south.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1904. The Bulletin.

To the Water God in the Fitzroy Gardens.

Bird and butterfly and bee
Come alike to visit thee,
Kneeling giant, worn and grim,
Bearer of face, and strong of limb.
Bearer of the scallop deep
Whence the silver eddies leap.

Shining, shining, low and soft
As a thrush’s note aloft,
Sings the fountain, sweet and pure,
As a maiden’s voice demure,
Flinging high its crystal sheen
To the sky, and branches green.

Kneeling giant, still and weird,
Blank of eye, and white of beard,
Through the water’s sparkling lace
Do we spy a nymph embrace
Thy rude neck with clasp of snow ?
Do we hear her murmur low ?

“ Long the day, but night draws on
Soon, oh Heart, we’ll be alone
In the garden dim and cool,
You shall lie beside the pool,
Stars and I shall vigil keep
While you sweetly dream and sleep.”

Shining, shining, low and soft
As a thrush's note aloft
(Sings the fountain) sweet and pure
As a maiden’s voice demure —
Only (though we hold our breath)
Thou art silent, still as Death !