The Children’s Fountain

Children's Fountain, by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure.

Next to the White House is one of the most outstanding elements of the garden of the Finca del Marqués de Valdecilla: the Children’s Fountain. It is a work by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure (Valencia, 1862-Madrid, 1947), which he carried out in 1928 at the request of the niece and heiress of the Marquis María Luisa Gómez Pelayo, Marquise de Pelayo, for the Estate.

Between 1912 and 1914, Benlliure had created two fountains to decorate the facades of his house and studio in Madrid, which they made in glazed ceramic, one polychrome and the other white, at the Ruiz de Luna Factory in Talavera de la Reina. The two fountains reproduced a children’s scene with seven children pushing another that falls into the water that contains the basin. The admiration aroused by this work caused the author to receive several orders for replicas with some variations.

In 1928, when the Santander Provincial Council commissioned a monument dedicated to María Luisa González Pelayo, in gratitude for the creation of the Provincial Maternity Hospital and the Kindergarten, the sculptor integrated, attached to its front, a new version of the Fuente de los children, in which the cup is a large shell resting on a swan, all cast in bronze.

Mariano Benlliure made a replica of the latest version for the Santander monument for the Finca del Marqués de Valdecilla. The new fountain is made up of a granite base surrounded by a sheet of water with a ceramic bottom, and the group of eight children, the shell-pile and the swan in polychrome and glazed ceramic, for which he also had the collaboration of Ruiz de Luna.