Fountain of the Virtues, Nuremberg, c.1935



nuremberg fountain

The Fountain of the Virtues, or Tugendbrunnen, is a Renaissance water fountain located in Nuremberg’s city centre. Divided into three tiers and cast from bronze, the fountain was created in the 1580s by Benedict Wurzelbauer. The three theological virtues and three cardinal virtues are depicted as six allegorical figures. The three seen in the stereograph are Faith (holding a cross), Love (surrounded by children) and Hope (accompanied by an anchor). Above the six figures are water-spouting cherubs holding the city’s coat of arms and at the top of the fountain is a statue of Justice. Although the surrounding buildings were all destroyed, fortunately the fountain survived World War Two and can still be seen in Nuremberg today.


‘The Heart of the West End’, 1905

‘The heart of the West End – Piccadilly Circus, Coventry St. in the distance, London, England’

H. C. White & Co.


piccadilly west end

The scene has remained pretty much unchanged over the course of the last one hundred years. The London Pavilion in the background opened in 1859 and stands on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street. The famous Shaftesbury Memorial fountain was completed in 1893 and features a statue of Anteros by Alfred Gilbert (although the statue is often mis-named as Eros, Anteros’s brother). I wish we still had horse-drawn omnibuses even if they probably aren’t the fast way to get around London! It seems that absolutely everyone wore hats in those days.

Saalgasse, Frankfurt: Before & After World War Two



frankfurt saalgasse before



frankfurt saalgasse after

The stereoraphs show the small square at the top of Saalgasse, the narrow lane seen disappearing in the background. On the south side of the square once stood the Holy Ghost Hospital until its demolition in 1840. The hospital was commemorated in the Holy Ghost water fountain which stood in the square, visible in both stereoviews, and which was topped with a Rococo statue of Virtue. The two large houses on the far left were built in the 16th century and were known as The Three Fishes. In 1772 the one on the right was owned by a butcher for whom Goethe won his first case during his short-lived career as a lawyer. The Saalgase and all its ancient houses was destroyed in 1944 but the statue in the centre was salvaged. The area has since been rebuilt in a Post-Modernist style.

The Hühnermarkt, Frankfurt: Before & After World War Two



frankfurt poultry market before



frankfurt poultry market after

The two stereoviews show the Hühnermarkt (Poultry Market) in Frankfurt’s medieval altstadt. It lay between the Römer (the 14th century town hall), and the cathedral, part of a dense network of squares and roads which dated back to the Middle Ages. The Hühnermarkt was surrounded by houses on all sides, many of which were medieval in origin with altered Baroque facades. One of these, known as the Esslinger House, belonged to Goethe’s uncle. A tiny part of it is just visible to the very far left in the first stereograph. In the centre of the square was a public water fountain with a bust of Friedrich Stolze, a 19th century novelist and poet born at a nearby house. The Hühnermarkt was completely destroyed during an air-raid in 1944 along with the vast majority of Frankfurt’s ancient city centre, although the bust of Stolze was later salvaged and re-erected elsewhere in the city. The old street plan was obliterated during post-war reconstruction but, at this very moment, work is underway to reinstate the Hühnermarkt along with several of its surrounding buildings. One of the houses to be reconstructed is the Esslinger House. Other reconstructions are planned for completion by 2016, a remarkable example of how historical architecture can linger in the collective memory to such an extent that people feel compelled to recreate it over seventy years after it was destroyed (a similar scheme has been in progress at Dresden since the late 1980s).

The Market Place and Neptune Fountain, Nuremberg, c.1930

‘The Market and Frauenkirche Square, Nuremberg, Germany’

Keystone View Company


nuremberg marketplace

The Neptune fountain seen to the left is in fact a copy. The original was made in Nuremberg in 1668. It was the largest Baroque fountain north of the Alps. The fountain was sold to Tsar Paul I in 1799 and shipped off to St. Petersburg. By the end of the 19th century the people of Nuremberg decided that they wanted it back but Tsar Alexander III refused to sell. A cast of the original was taken and the replica fountain was placed in the marketplace in the centre of Nuremberg. During the Third Reich the fountain was seen both as an impediment to Nazi rallies in the square and a stain on the ‘pure’ Gothic architecture of the city centre. Upon Hitler’s orders it was moved outside the city centre. In a bizarre twist of fate, the original was looted by the Wehrmacht from St. Petersburg, brought back to Nuremberg and stashed away in an underground vault. After the war the original fountain was returned to the USSR. The copy can be seen today in Nuremberg city park. The market place was completely destroyed during an air-raid in 1945.

The Goose Man Fountain, Nuremberg, c.1890


nuremberg goose man fountain a braun

The Gänsemännchenbrunnen, or Goose Man fountain, was created around 1550 and is one of Nuremberg’s oldest fountains. It features a bronze figure of a farmer holding a goose under each arm, the water coming out of their beaks. Before 1945 the fountain was located in the goose market but it’s now in a courtyard behind the town hall.