27 stunning stone fountains as seen in architectural digest and HGTV

Can you imagine a Provencal village without a fountain? dsc_0624_edited

This ‘central meeting place’ of all villagers has always been the vibrant source of French Mediterranean life. Shaded by giant eucalyptus trees, those fountains offered an oasis for local and migratory birds.dsc_0265

All over Luberon you will see fountains. Town centers, farmhouses, monasteries and even street corners fountains are everywhere to be seen.dsc_0955

Rustic pool fountain carved in stone and built into the hill, a beautiful majestic fountains in honor of a particular historical figure or in homage to a local patron saint.dsc_0657


In the first rays of the morning sun, people meet there for coffee, to read their newspaper or have ‘aperitif’. This is a friendly place ‘par excellence’.dsc_0165_edited


Water is such a precious resource in our Mediterranean regions. For millennia, it has been captured, collected, guided by often ingenious ways such as roman aqueducts to feed the villages.photo04_hires


The water source was usually located at the foot hills of medieval villages, or in the valleys where water came straight down from the mountain hills guided by gravity into its final destination.dsc_0491


Going back thousands of years, starting from the Neolithic Era, original village design was gradually shaped by small huts and farmhouses sprawling outwards of central fountains connected by small dirt roads that later expanded into cobbled stones medieval alleyways.dsc_0661


During the Roman Era, this strategic formation, became an unintended natural protective barrier that safeguarded the life source of the village from invaders while providing locals with irrigation and livestock water supply.dsc_0669

Some fountains are rustic, subtle, and beautiful in their simplicity without an added layer of carving complexity.dsc_0873


They can be carved into the bed rock like the ‘Cabrières Aquamarine’ wall fountain, protruding as you will see in ‘Brantes’ or hidden under an arch like the trough fountain of ‘Cereste’.108754104


Meanwhile, well carved prestigious fountains, were placed in the center of the village or neighborhood to beautify the place while supplying water to the inhabitants.la-place-de-la-grande-fontaine-saint-paul-de-vence


In the ‘Venaissin’ County, some of the eighteenth century fountains are decorated with octagonal lion heads and Bacchus masks such as ‘Vénasque’.img_4704


The medieval town of Pernes les Fontaines, which was the capital of the Comtat for 2 centuries, has forty fountains in various forms. In Robion, an ancient well dating back of the sixteenth century can still be seen till this daydsc_0064


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An intriguing Art History Dilemma: Tuscan, Venetian and Florentine Sink Fountains. Their Origins and Evolution.

There were two categories of Tuscan water fountains known in the fifteenth century: the autonomous or type “isolated”, designed for the center of the town square, courtyard or backyard gardens and the “committed” or as we call them today the wall fountains, that are normally placed against a wall at the end of a square or a courtyard and that are in need of a backing support wall or boulder.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-25

The only example of a Florentine wall fountain of this period is the fine structure of ‘Pietra Serena’ in a location called the ‘Orlandini Courtyard’, now owned by ‘Banca Del Monte Dei Paschi’. Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-7

This is a unique niche crowned by a bow and framed by classical pilasters, water falling from a middle ornamental interior of the niche placed in a half-moon pool at its heel.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-9

Similar to wall fountains, sinks wall fountains were abound in churches and monasteries of Florence. Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-30

These, although provided with running water, are not true fountains; for water, was controlled by a valve which was switched on only when needed.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-5

They weren’t used for the display or decorative purposes but served a vital and functional water dispensation value. Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-15

The sink fountain was the ancestor of our modern day plumed sink with running water. Back then those sinks were used by the priests for religious purposes where celebrants washed their hands before the consecration of the host into the body of Christ. Therefore, the basin was placed much higher than our modern day sinks.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-28

Those sink had their secular counterpart inside Venetian Castles and merchants villas inside their ‘acquaio’ or master palatial bathrooms.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-10

Few isolated sink fountains of the Fifteenth Century were left intact inside Venetian villas. Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-33

Museums and private collections contain the bulk of the scattered Venetian basins sink heritage and few documented hand drawing and sketches of those original designs survived in the archives of Venetian and Florentine Museums and private collections.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The contemporary archival and documented art historic studies of Italian engravings, paintings and drawings of those sinks have led us to the rediscovery of this nearly lost art. Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-26

Ancient Surfaces can successfully re-carved and restore most common stone and marble sink forms and designs. We later made a discovery in that field that was later confirmed with scholars of that period.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-22

The smaller sized inlayed wash basin sinks were used only outdoors inside open air private closed garden courtyards.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-29
The Florentine fountain figures that survive from this period are mainly variations on the popular theme of the ‘Putto’. However, fountains performances in contemporary Italian art indicates that a wide range of topics, usually based on classical prototypes, were used in the Quattrocento sink fountains.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-36

A water jet was often linked in some way with the statue or pedestal bowel.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-20

In some instances water flowed from an urn or spouted from a fish, dolphin or a bronze lion head or spigot.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-21

Back in the 15th century, wall sinks fountains sculptor’s simply adapted contemporary forms of remnant Roman ruined architraves and columns utilizing the classical scales and orders.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-38

They copied altarpieces and Roman wall signage plaques that were recycled from a thousand years before their time.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-37

With sink fountains becoming freestanding, however, carvers had to face new challenges. Chief of these was the need for a 360-degree configuration since the ‘Quattrocento’ sink fountains were wall fountain meant for frontal viewing only.Sink-and-Bowl-Fountains-32

It was a difficult technical problem that was not solved overnight. Over time however, the competence of Italian master carvers and designers prevailed as evidenced by the sculptural record from the following period that started in the 17th Century and that is still ongoing today.



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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, water, sun and a limestone fountain, makes it all breezy.

During the summer heat people tend to think about how to remodel and spice up their outdoor areas for lounging, parties and dinners outside. Spanish-Mediterranean courtyard gardens provide plenty of inspiration.1447839225

Classical Pool Fountain

These cozy enclosed patios are designed to be an extension of the home’s living space, with specific outdoor spaces to sit in, enjoy a dinner with your loved ones or guests and relax surrounded by the classic magnificent looks of tile, cooling fountains and a few choice plants.18701220214_71e5d50bc6

Tiled fountain

This residence has a central courtyard with a tiled fountain. The shade provided by the four sides of the house keeps this place fresh, even during the heat wave. In this kind of court, one can well imagine having a few small tables for dinner on the stone patio.1202389-1filename-mg-1134-jpgPreserve+Carmel+Architectural+Photography-3

While providing the soothing sound of water, this fountain makes a stunning focal point in this courtyard. All Together, limestone wall cladding, flower jars and the greenery of trees makes it an unforgettable place where one seeks peace of mind and soothes his spirit.Mcwhorter-website-photos-930x595

Water has become a precious element and droughts are frequent. Our water Practice has changed: back in time, pool fountains and wells were used for water supply and watering gardens and crops. Today they have become a crucial element for relaxation and decoration.Fontaine_Eglise-2

This image shows a large typical Provencal garden with a biblical stone garden path, a majestic cherry tree and a limestone pool fountain placed in the center of this private garden where children can play around and refresh all summer long. Overall, the landscape around this courtyard is a beautiful work of art.provence_maspascal_33

Monastic inspired circular fountain

Even if you’re not using your fountain as a part of your pool, you can always obtain the stress relief that comes with running water. Nothing beats a cold drink in hand, laying by your pool, tuning in your favorite songs and listening to the water flowing out of your pool fountain. This lovely circular fountain was inspired by Monastic water fountains that were used by the clergy to wash their hands prior to participating in holy mass. This fountain is ideal for closed open air courtyards in Tuscan and French countryside style homes where the need to see the water dispersion from all angles is a must.IMG_0212

Alpine hexagonal pool fountain

This alpine hexagonal pool fountain in this photo is serving a crucial less known function besides being a lovely artistic architectural stone decorative piece. The proprietors on this Alpine Mansion have decided to install this lovely element close to their Master bedroom in order to mask the back ground noise generated from oncoming pedestrian and touristic traffic. It allowed them to gain back their privacy while helping them create a neutral white noise buffer that canceled out unwanted street level noise pollution.98074518_o

Bird bath type Pool Fountain

A solitary middle dispensing Pestle topped with a bird bath type bowl vessel is probably the single most recognizable form of a pool fountain that has endured the tests of times and has survived the endless tsunami waves of design style changes cross centuries and millennia. They were catalogued in the righting of Greek Philosophers and poets, and turned timeless in the exhilarating paintings of John Singer Sargent. When in need of a timeless beauty that transcends style classifications.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Double tiered Pool Fountain

This Double tiered Pool Fountain is something of a rarity. A genuine article if there ever was one. The Harmonic ratio of the bottom and top pedestal and bowl were created using the golden ration. The bottom pool base of this fountains can not be described by mere words. A real whimsical creation awaiting a special ‘milieu’ to call home. A series of concave and convex foliated sections connect with a top beaded lining and a lower web motif heel on its base.DSC0985

Four lion head masked French Provencal Pool Fountain

A majestic four lion head masked French Provencal Pool Fountain proudly sits in this 17th century French Luberon farmhouse manor or ‘Manoir’ as they are called it in French. The well defined bold and masculine features of the pool fountain based were hand carved in a Medieval style that gives onlookers the impression of ancient ramparts of fortresses.Front011


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Antique Stone Fountains that will Beat this Summers Heat

Decorative or dramatic effect of time honored European wall and pool fountains.

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DSC_0109Most heirloom fountains that have been inherited by humanity today started originally at one point as a purely functional dispenser of water. 548033_475685582477514_27826080_n1

They were connected to springs or aqueducts and used to provide drinking bathing and washing water to the residents of early Minoan cities, towns and villages and later inside Roman private castles and villas. font-chato-eguilles

All of our reclaimed stone fountains Until the late 19th century were operated by gravity. IMG_4987

Ancient civilizations were found to have constructed a network of connected basins in the gorges of several rivers, carved in solid rock, connected by small streams, in order to form a year long steady source of the precious liquid.7d83f0_b17eef5e8ff1496685480d87651d4832

It has been said that Egyptians have invented creative water pump systems that allowed the hoisting of water up from the Nile for drinking and irrigation. Unfortunately there has been no recorded depictions of fountains in Egyptian frescoes, carvings or papyri.Laduree-8

The ancient Greeks were apparently the first to use aqueducts and gravity-powered fountains to distribute water. According to ancient historians, fountains existed in Athens, Corinth, and other ancient Greek cities in the 6th century BC as the terminating points of aqueducts which brought water from springs and rivers into the cities.Laduree-2

In the 6th century BC the Athenian rulers built the main fountain of Athens, i was called the Enneacrounos, and was situated in the main town square center of Athens. It had nine large spouts, which supplied drinking water to local residents.sheckel-02153-2

Greek fountains resembled to a high degree their European counterparts and were made of stone or marble just like the ones you can still find today all over Rome.  Water flowed from bronze and sculpted bronze, limestone or marble masks that generally depicted the head of a lion an aquatic animal or even a Greek idol.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAPool Fountain-8

Most later European fountains followed that simple Greek design having water flow by simple gravity, and by using the principle of a siphon to make water spout, as seen in pictures on Greek vasesp102017font-marquis-gemenos-2

The excavations at Pompeii, which was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, uncovered many fountains and basins placed at intervals along city streets, fed by siphoning water upwards from pipes laid under the street and powered by gravity.3ZYSM_2

The excavations of Pompeii also showed that the homes of wealthy Romans often had a small fountain in the atrium, or interior courtyard, with water coming from city water supply and spouting into a small bowl or basin such as this one depicted below.img155-f

Ancient Rome was a city of fountains. According to Sextus Julius Frontinus, the Roman consul who was named curator aquarum or guardian of the water of Rome in 98 AD, Rome had nine aqueducts which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins, not counting the water supplied to the Imperial household, baths and owners of private villas.2427486731_0082d84eed_o

Each of the major fountains was connected to two different aqueducts, in case one was shut down for service. The Romans were able to make fountains jet water into the air, by using the pressure of water flowing from a distant and higher source of water to create hydraulic head, or force. Illustrations of fountains in gardens spouting water are found on wall paintings in Rome from the 1st century BC, and in the villas of Pompeii.Pool Fountain-48

The Villa of Hadrian in Tivoli featured a large swimming basin with jets of water.
Pliny the Younger described the banquet room of a Roman villa where a fountain began to jet water when visitors sat on a marble seat.Tiered Fountain-06


The water flowed into a basin, where the courses of a banquet were served in floating dishes shaped like boats.
Roman engineers built aqueducts and fountains throughout the Roman Empire.tumblr_n6ndm9MqQc1s6mxo0o1_1280

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20 French fountains that will send you packing for the next flight to Provence.

Water has fascinated us since the dawn of time. In ancient days, fountains and ponds were constructed to capture and collect water sources used for domestic and agricultural needs. The Romans carved underground tunnels and created aqueducts over mountains just to equip their baths and fountains. Italy was known since antiquity to be ‘fountain country’.

Stone Block Fountain
A ruined fountain made of large stone blocks in a courtyard. Pompeii, Italy. ca. 1990 Pompeii, Italy

During the Middle Ages however, things have started to radically change; the wells and cisterns have become more common than central fountains as centers of population swell until 1348. After the transition from the European dark ages into the rebirth or Renaissance, fountains have regained their status as both a decorative cultural element, a center of convening and public meeting as well as a phytosanitary clean  way to gain access to drinking, cooking and cleaning water.FTN-WEST-CREET

Today’s fountains are soothing and refreshing in both their elemental nuances and architectural forms.Fountain are a delightful gift for those who embrace the Al Fresco style of living and love to soak in natural sunlight while being enchanted with the whimsical melody of streaming water.wf051.jpg~original

Swimming pool fountains

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Placed on one edge of a pool, a feeder wall fountain naturally pours its water into the pool and brings a lively and oxygenated flow of fresh recycled water in.LUBERON0715-2



This layout is highly sought after nowadays and is a definite plus in any architectural landscaping design.



A monumental piece in the heart of the garden will bring a disproportionate character. Masonry and old stone this fountain looks like a source of an outgoing earth.J SAGE EVENT-005040


Refined source of water

At the center of this courtyard sitting atop large stone slab bases, a rectangular fountain has all the place it needs.1

It is decorated with small ceramic tiles. A continual but charming rustle of water will brighten the garden. Un


And what if you turn your fountain into an outdoor shower? img909

Built in a good height stone wall, this allows for a small waterfall will lets you peacefully cool off.



This purified water line runs on several decks.6860937-O-3

It stops at the wall to make room for a fountain that will gracefully flow into the water following the end of the corridor.53BV-33-b


Italianate or French design fountains are made very popular in neo-classic architecture and fountains of this period are a quintessential part of this classical gilded era style.Un


Original concept with trough-like basin arranged along a front. This comprises a row of several pots in which lilies or magnolias grow, while the water cascades down below, into a flowing tray or water channel.18878778265571d7f5caea72.87459416_1920

Using old antique limestone with a contemporary design, blends the new with the old in a remarkable way. RX-DK-SG16602_architectural-wall_s3x4.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280



An elegant rectangular pool welcomes here a thin cast of water for pleasure.3815150002_fb35fb9e7d_o

Here are some aquatic plants to use to decorate the pond: water lily, Nymphaea, cattail, Typha latifolia, and also grasses, Stipa tenuissima and Andropogon Gerardi. 53BV-87-d

More indoor and outdoor water fountain and wellhead models are available in more architectural styles, sizes, patinas, and stone options at Ancient Surfaces so come on by and visit our website so we can inspire you further more.

Pool fountains vs. Wellheads who comes on top?

A pool fountain is an architectural aesthetic piece of art which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air to supply drinking water and for a decorative or dramatic effect.

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Fountains were originally used to provide drinking to the residents of cities, towns and villages. Until the late 19th century most fountains operated by gravity, and needed a source of water higher than the fountain, such as a reservoir to make the water flow or jet into the air.

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By the end of the 19th century, urban fountains became purely decorative. Fountains are used today to decorate city parks and squares or home backyards; to honor individuals or events; for recreation and for entertainment.

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  • Pros for pool fountain:

When having a very spacious backyards or garden, a large diameter pool fountain is ideal to architecturally fill in the blank space and make the place look more cozy and aesthetic for your family or guests. The sound of water cascading off of a tiered or a four spigotted fountains create a whimsical orchestra that should be music to the ears.


Even if you’re not using your fountain as an integral part of your pool, you can still glean the stress relief that comes with running water. Studies have shown that people who have fountains in their yards are more relaxed. What’s better than laying by the pool, cold drink at hand, tuning in to natures frequencies? You can even turn the flow up high enough to block out the neighborhood traffic, dog and pool parties while still enjoying a peaceful afternoon by the pool.

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The height elevation of a backyard pool water fountains can easily take your audience eyes away from other backyard features that you may need to underplay or camouflage like an adjacent property wall

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  • Pros for wellhead fountains:

Wellheads were at first nothing more than a simple hole in the ground with a limestone ring that facilitated the rope pulling of water filled buckets.

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Later as the mercantile class, noblemen and royals began constructing their manors, mansions and castles around an underground water source for a self- sustainability reason, a decorative need for those well heads was born and a hole in the ground wasn’t enough any longer. In no time, wellheads became a staple to many old European fairy tales and folklore like the princess and the frog fable.

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Wellheads are ideal in getting the job done where standard size pool fountains fall short or delivering that task. They are also ideal for side yard specially ones that are open to a kitchen window or adjacent to a sunroom, kid’s room or formal living rooms.

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Another picturesque application for Wellheads is in the front yard entry of your home centered inside a small roundabout island where yet again a wider fountain would have been too big to fit or too obstructive to your front entryway.


Just like fountains, wellheads can also be waterproofed and equipped with a small internal pump that will allow for a water jet to softly overflow and create a soft mystical water melody fare less intense that the sound of cascading fountains.

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More indoor and outdoor water fountain and wellhead models are available in more architectural styles, sizes, patinas, and stone options at Ancient Surfaces so come on by and visit our website so we can inspire you further more.



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tayonthemove on 20 French fountains that will…