In the front courtyard of the Radcliffe Infirmary Building in Oxford is a a fountain initially installed in 1857 of Triton, the merman. Known as the Radcliffe Triton, it was modelled by the distinguished Victorian sculptor John Bell. It was produced by J.M. Blashfield in his London workshop.
The statue is in actual fact a copy of the original Foutana del Tritone fountain in Piazza Barberini in Rome. This fountain was commissioned in 1642 and the sculpted by Bernini. In Greek mythology, Triton is half man and half dolphin. Triton is the son of the sea god Poseidon and Amphitrite. He dwelt in the bottom of the sea in a golden palace, with his mother and father. On the command of his father, Poseidon, Triton blew his conch like a trumpet, to calm the restless waves of the sea.
In the mid 19th century, the choice of this subject matter reflected the Victorians interest in antiquities. John Bell in particular was involved in the revival of terracotta as an artistic medium. Fast forward to the 21st century, the Radcliffe Fountain was in a state of disrepair. Terracotta is by nature porous, which expands and contracts with moisture and fluctuations in temperature. Although the fountain had undergone a number of repairs,