Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer unveiled a controversial Victorian fountain on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion here last week. The $169,000 sculpture was designed by Utah artist Lyle W. Beddes and cast by Historical Arts & Casting Inc. of Salt Lake City.
Beddes and Historical Arts officers David and Robert Baird were on hand for the presentation of the fountain by the Governors' Mansion Foundation, a non-profit group.The fountain has stirred opposition in Annapolis in part because it was the idea of Hilda Mae Snoops, Gov. Schaefer's lady friend. The unmarried Schafer, 68, has made Snoops, who lives with him, the first lady of Maryland and his official hostess. Annapolis residents have resented Snoops' redecoration of the mansion's grounds.
The fountain itself became even more newsworthy when Schaefer refused to allow the local press to see the design. The completed work became known as the "stealth statue" when it was put up and covered with a cloth that was not removed until Friday.
Most who saw it at the rain-dampened ceremony felt the statue was a fitting ornament for their city.
Historical Arts has been working on the fountain design for more than 18 months, Robert Baird told the Deseret News. Consisting of more than 300 pieces of cast bronze, the actual construction has been under way for three months, involving ten employees. Parts of the fountain were cast by Eagle Foundry in Orem and Young Fine Arts Foundry in Salt Lake City.
The fountain's motifs include fish, crab, oysters and a terrapin in their native habitat. Blue heron, swamp sparrows, a frog, tobacco and corn shocks decorate the upper section of the sculpture.
The Bairds spent several weeks in Maryland last year investigating the local flora and fauna. Resources from Brigham Young University and Tracy Aviary were used in designing the work.
Historical Arts & Casting has done work for ZCMI, the Salt Lake LDS Temple Baptistry, and the LDS Temple Monument in Nauvoo, Ill.