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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 6, no. 134: October 8, 1870

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EAL Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. VI. NEW YOKK, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1870. No. 134. ' Publislied Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. One year, in advance__....___.......;.. $6 00 All communications should be addressed to 106 BilO.\.UWAY. COB. OF PlNE STREET. PUBLIC FOUNTAINS. There is one noble feature of public improve¬ ments to whicli we have hitherto paid little or no attention, but which as much as any other adds beauty and dignity to the aspect of a great city,—we mean the frequent appearance of pub¬ lic fountains. By this Ave do not mean the loca¬ tion of wooden troughs here and there, for the use of thirsty horses; nor a common hydrant, ■with chained tin dipper, left running at long in¬ tervals at our dusty street comers. These are very useful contrivances, to be sure, as far as they go, but give neither elegance nor beauty to a city. What Ave allude to are such sculptured gems of art, in stone or bronze, as are to be found scattered at random among the streets and squares of all the cities of Continental Eu¬ rope; beautiful objects that arrest the atten¬ tion of -the artistic traveller wherever he moves, in Germany, France, Belgium, or Italy. Without speaking of that queen of modem cities—^poor beleagfuered Paris—there is'scarcely a to-wn in France, of any pretension whatever, without several fine fountains. Rome is literally crowded -with these pleasing and refreshing ob¬ jects. Turn where you vrill, you have but a lit¬ tle way to go before you come upon some ' '■Fonte ddkt acgua "—something or other; some rich de-vice of well-carved figures in groups, pour¬ ing water in every direction. Water is playing and bubbling everywhere; now emerging from huge basins placed in the centre of some spacious square, now rushing and foaming like a torrent from the solid flank of some buildingj in the very centre' of the city, among sea-horses and Tritons spouting water from their shells. And this not for any grand holiday exhibition, like the sumptuous water displays at Versailles, but for every day and constant enjoyment. German' cities, too, are famous for these public objects of usefulness and decoration. One at Augsbourg is particularly remarkable. Around a richly-carved octagonal structure, rising out of a large basin and surmounted by a colossal bronze group of Hercules slaying the Hydra, are seated exquisite female figures in bronze, of life size, in most .graceful attitudes. One is squeezing her long tresses, another pressing her breast from which flows the limpid flaid, while, at the base, among mermaids squirting water from their lips, area number of merry little urchins strangling geese, from whose upturned beaks the streams of wa¬ ter spout up aadcroBs each other in every di¬ rection. These figures are aU. of costly bronze; there is not one of them but, as a work of art, is fit to grace any Gallery in Christendom, and yet there they are, not for any private show, but as a common street ornament! We really think travellers are more impressed by the foun¬ tains in those German cities and elsewhere than, perhaps, by any other single feature in their rich treasures of art; for it is high art ap¬ plied in a direction to which we are here so totally unaccustomed. And why should this be so.? In every de¬ partment of art we are making such rapid headway that New York bids fair to become, in anothier decade or two, one of the stateliest capitals in the world. We have a supply of water in unusual abundance, and our natural draining facilities are unsurpassed. There is no city in the world more capable of adorn¬ ment in this direction, if we only applied the proper taste and energy to it. Even the Cen¬ tral Park, beautiful as it is in eveiy respect, as far as it has gone, and carrying evidences, as it does, of more concentrated and uniform taste in aU. its details than perhaps any other park in existence, is still far behind with its fountains. But it is not so much the united efEort upon one such grand work as would be here applica¬ ble to which we now especially allude; it is rather to such fountains as would be fit to be placed in any of the prominent locations still left us as breathing places: for instance, in City Hall Square, in front of the new Post Of¬ fice; in Union Square, Madison Square, in all the spaces left at the grand junctions where Broadway cuts diagonally across the avenues. If this beyond the reach of our municipal authorities, surely we have indi-vidual wealth among us far surpassing that to be found in most European cities, and to which the latter are able to directly trace much of their public adornments. To what better purpose could one of our many millionnaires devote a portion of his surplus wealth than by presenting his city with a splendid work of art, in the shape of a public fountain? But Cincinnati has al¬ ready taken the start of us in this respect, and what we have here only thrown out as a sugges¬ tion has already been realized by one of her wealthiest citizens. Mr. Probasco—^whose sumptuous residence in the environs of Cincin¬ nati, and rare treasures of art from aU parts of the world are worthy of a long pilgrimage to visit—has presented his native city with a most costly and magnificent fountain, to be set np in Fifth street market place: a work of art wliich, in size, richness, and beauty of design and ex¬ ecution win, when complete, place it in favor¬ able comparison with anything of the kind to be found in Europe. The whole was designed and executed, at Munich, Bavaria, by the first of living sculptors in bronze, and must be now nearly ready to put in place. The various groups and figures, which are all of bronze life- size, are exquisite and appropiiate works of art, and the whole is surmounted by one majes¬ tic female figure, with wide-spread arms, scattering water in showers from the palms of her hands. The whole thing is designed upon the grandest scale imaginable. We regret that we have not at hand the particulars of this glorious work, of which we only had a hurried glimpse by the model, and may revert to it at some future time. KEFORTED IMPORTANT BUSINESS CHANGES. NEW YORK CITT. Banks & Leonard, umbrellas, dissolved; George W. Leonard continues. Danby, J. B. & Co., prodace commission, dis¬ solved ; J. B. Danbj"- continues. Dickinson