Boy and Duck fountain in Vale of Cashmere

Boy and Duck fountain in Vale of Cashmere

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which owns a later casting of this work seen at center of photograph, American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937) sculpted Boy and Duck between 1895-96 and had it cast in bronze before presenting it to his native Brooklyn as a gift, where it was installed as a fountain in the Vale of Cashmere water lily pool ca. 1897 in Prospect Park. The work shows a chubby  toddler with one leg standing on a turtle while trying mightily to hold onto a squirming duck. Appropriately, water shoots from the mouth of the duck in addition to streams emanating from several splayed ducklings mounted on the side of the sculpture’s pedestal as well as the mouths of six turtles submerged in the pool surrounding the work.
The Vale of Cashmere, named after the Indian setting in Irish poet Thomas Moore’s epic poem Lalla Rookh, is a small formal garden that replaced the former Children’s Playground in the park which had become underutilized and was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White from 1893-94.  According to the volume ‪The Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden‬, the original sculpture of Boy and Duck, which had been installed every summer in the pool, was stolen on October 14, 1941 and not replaced. Fortunately, the non-profit Prospect Park Alliance is planning on replacing the fountain as part of a larger restoration of the Vale and other neglected areas inside the 585 acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as the 150th anniversary founding of the park approaches in 2016.

This photograph, with title supplied by this archive, is the work of an Unknown Brooklyn amateur photographer whose surviving work was discovered in a trunk in the American South. Background can be found at link on Associated Blog Posts with this page.

Boy and Duck fountain in Vale of Cashmere

Image Dimensions8.7 x 11.6 cm

Support DimensionsDetail: 11.8 x 16.6 cm shown cropped to imprinted, cream-colored photographic paper stock's center-impressed faux frame