Marylebone’s unchanging art: the Triton Fountain

This ornamental fountain, a bronze sculpture of the Greek god Triton and two water nymphs, stands in the middle of a pool in Queen Mary’s Gardens, Regent’s Park. Engraved on the rim of the pool are the words: “In memory of Sigismund Christian Hubert Goetze 1866-1939 / Painter, lover of the arts and benefactor of this park”.

As an artist, Sigismund Goetze has largely been forgotten, although he was once a painter of some renown—according to a contemporary report, his 1904 painting Despised and Rejected of Men, was an “artistic sensation” at the Royal Academy, and the vast patriotic murals he created for the Foreign Office are still a sight to behold. It is as a donor of public art that he is best remembered.

From 1909, he lived in Grove House (now Nuffield Lodge), on the northern perimeter of Regent’s Park, and among his many acts of cultural largesse were various works installed in the new Queen Mary’s Gardens, including the ornate Jubilee Gates. In 1936, he commissioned the sculptor William McMillan to design the Triton Fountain, but the outbreak of war meant that the piece was not finished until 1950, when it was installed by Goetze’s wife Constance.