Vol. II No. 10 5/15/2021
Update from the Fountains Committee
by Member Carl Sprague
With ongoing discussion, planning and funding, renovations to the Town's two Main Street fountains are underway. The iconic Cat and Dog sculpture has been moved to the Housatonic Studio of Jeffrey Gulick — a highly skilled sculptor and restoration specialist — who fortunately happens to be a local. Jeffrey has worked on projects for the White House, Newport mansions, The Mount and Ventfort Hall. He is in a multi-step process of taking molds from the original sculpture with the goal of creating an historically accurate new casting, which will restore some of the damage the original has suffered over the last 150 years. The original sculpture will of course be preserved — possibly at Town Hall. Besides replicating the statue, the basin will need work so that it does not leak. One aim is to raise the water level in the basin, as shown in historic photos. The marble coping stones around the edge of the basin are in good shape and only need to be reset.
The watering trough at the intersection of Main and Elm will be cleaned, and cracks patched to make it watertight. Restoration of the plantings is planned. That fountain was the 1881 gift of Signor Albinola, an Italian refugee from Austrian prisons, who loved the peace and hospitality he found in Stockbridge.
The Cat and Dog fountain was also the gift of a Stockbridge newcomer, summer resident John H. Gourlie, one time president of the New York Stock Exchange, who gave the Town the fountain in 1862. He described Stockbridge, "It is as pretty a village as you ever saw." The Gourlie house was originally opposite the Red Lion Inn and the fountain was part of its garden. Their house was later moved to East Main Street and is now being restored.
In the course of pulling the molds for the new reproduction, Jeffrey Gulick has noted that the dog is male, the cat is female, and that she has just caught a rat, which may be the reason for their altercation. The sculpture is believed to be Italian, but the name of the artist has been lost. The possibility has been raised that it might be the work of Emma Stebbins, who worked in Rome and later settled in Lenox. Any clues?
Goose grazing. Photo: Patrick White