Lorado Taft's "Fountain of Time" was inspired by Henry Austin Dobson's poem, "Paradox of Time" which begins: "Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go." Taft later wrote "The words brought before me a picture I saw the mighty crag-like figure of time, leaning upon his staff his chin upon his hand and watching, the endless march of humanity."
The fountain consists of two large sculptures, a hooded Father Time stands watching the passage of 100 figures across a reflecting pool. The figures depict birth, the struggle for existence, love, family life, religion, poetry, and war. The work was commissioned in 1913 to commemorate the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain since the signing of the Treaty of Ghent concluded the War of 1812.
The sculptures are made of hollow-cast concrete, reinforced with steel, cast using a 4,500 piece mold. The "Fountain of Time" is notable for being the first large scale finished art piece made of single pieces of concrete; there are no seams or expansion joints. The sculptor left his self-portrait among the figures on the back side of the work; a figure in an artist's smock, head bowed, hands clasped behind him, followed by his Italian workman.
The sculptures and reflecting pool were completed in 1920 and formally dedicated to the city in 1922. Since it's dedication, time has not been kind to the work. Chicago's harsh winters and hot summers cause the structure to expand and contract, creating cracks in the concrete. Attempts to repair the sculpture in 1936 and 1955 appear only to have made matters worse. By the 1980's, the sculpture was crumbling badly. Fortunately, new techniques applied during a major cleaning and renovation project conducted between 1999 and 2005 have succeeded in restoring much of the sculpture's beauty and detail. Additional work on the reflecting pool has allowed it to be filled with water once again for the first time in over 50 years. (As of the date this photo was shot, the pond had not been filled for the summer yet.)
Lorado Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois in 1860 and died in Chicago in 1936. He designed this fountain in his nearby studio at 66th Street and Ingleside Avenue.
This panorama was created using a Nikon D90 camera equipped with a Nikor 10.5mm wide-angle lens, mounted on a Nodal-Ninja 3 spherical bracket atop a Manfrotto tripod. Images were stiched using PTGui Pro. Additional post-processing was done in Photoshop. QuickTimeVR format output was created using Pano2VR.