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Buckingham Memorial Fountain, Chicago, Illinois, Elevation

A work made of graphite and white gouache on heavy watercolor paper.

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  • A work made of graphite and white gouache on heavy watercolor paper.




Bennett, Parsons, Frost and Thomas (American, 1914–1944)
Cyrus W. Thomas (American, 20th century)

About this artwork

Architect Edward Bennett, co-author of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, continued to imagine the potential of the unfinished Grant Park into the 1920s. One of the plan’s centerpieces was a monumental fountain on axis with Congress Parkway. With the support of philanthropist Kate Sturges Buckingham, Bennett designed a fountain modeled on one in the royal gardens of Versailles, at twice the size. Complete with four neoclassical sea horses symbolizing the four states bordering Lake Michigan, the fountain features colored light displays and high-tech pumps that draw water from the nearby harbor. The fountain was celebrated by contemporary critics for continuing the Plan of Chicago’s vision of a great urban center with a carefully framed and technologically perfected version of nature.


Currently Off View


Architecture and Design


Cyrus W. Thomas (Delineator)


Buckingham Memorial Fountain, Chicago, Illinois, Elevation


Chicago (Building address)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Graphite and white gouache on heavy watercolor paper


Signed at bottom left corner, "Cyrus W. Thomas Architect". Lettered in bottom right margin, "Preliminary Sketch for Buckingham Fountain / Grant Park, Chicago, Cyrus W. Thomas 1923". Paper has "Archers France" watermark at top right.


Approx.: 40 × 57.5 cm (15 3/4 × 22 11/16 in.)

Credit Line

Architecture Purchase Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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