Public Art: Neptune Fountain
Sculptor: © John Cheere (1709 – 1787)
Description: The 17th-century Baroque lead fountain in Lake of Neptune features a lead sculpture of Neptune perched on a rock surrounded by nymphs. Surrounding the lake are a series of sculptures representing the three seasons of Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Winter is no more. Another group represent Meleagro, Atlante, Vertumno and Pomona. Both groups are by John Cheere.
Date Unveiled: 1771
Location: The fountain can be found outside the Palacio Nacional, in Neptune Lake (the Hanging Gardens), Queluz, Portugal.
Background: The Royal estate commenced construction in 1747 by the King of Portugal’s youngest son Infante Pedro (later to be known as Pedro III). The grand plan was to build a summer palace with an amazing Rococo garden.
In 1755, following the great earthquake architect, Mateus Vicente de Oliveira was called to Lisbon to help with the city’s reconstruction. Everything was handballed over to his assistant Jean-Baptiste Robillion.
Lead statues and garden sculptures from English sculptor John Cheere of Hyde Park Corner were imported around 1756 in two consignments. A total of 9 statue groups, 57 figures, and 72 urns were ordered from Cheere’s catalogue. Today 20 of these are still in the gardens. On arrival, many were painted in various colours.