Thanks to the number of coaches and tour buses that stop nearby, the fountain on Bath’s Terrace Walk is one of the most photographed objects in the city. Few realise, though, that this relic from a forgotten past once stood in an even more prominent position, dispensing water from Bath’s hot springs to passers-by. Even fewer know anything of its creator, Stefan Vallerio Pieroni, whose name can still be traced around the base of the fountain.
Born in Tuscany in 1819, Pieroni arrived in England at the age of eighteen to seek a living making plaster statuettes. He settled first in London, before moving to Bath, where he went on to play a key role in the city’s social, cultural and political life at a pivotal stage in its history. Although almost forgotten today, he was one of the city’s most colourful characters. This timely study brings Pieroni and his world vividly to life, introducing us to a city whose turbulence and infighting belies the image of untroubled gentility so often associated with Victorian Bath.