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Final Ilkley fountain model to be auctioned

The final scale model of the Ilkley Fountain to be auctioned

The final scale model of the Ilkley Fountain limited edition has been bought by renowned art collector Ronnie Duncan, who has donated it back to the project so that Improving Ilkley can auction it to the highest bidder with The Grove Bookshop to host the auction.


Each of the 10 models in the first edition series has been sold for £1,700, with a full £1000 going to the fountain project after the fabrication cost per model (£700) has been paid to artist blacksmith James Wilkinson. The model will be displayed in the window of Ilkley’s iconic and much-loved Grove Bookshop for the duration of the auction (10 - 24 July). The hope is that the auctioning of this final ‘special’ model with all proceeds going to the project, will raise a significant additional amount in the final stage of fundraising. Improving Ilkley needs to raise another £10,000 plus £5,000 contingency to complete this phase of the fountain project.


Ronnie Duncan, who has also made a separate financial donation to the project says: “The fountain design is an important expression of the contribution which the habitat, town and landscape of Ilkley makes to the environment. It was a home-grown design, but had the competition been national, I believe it would have won for its beauty, simplicity and relevance.”


Ronnie Duncan is a Yorkshire-based art collector who over many years has developed an important art collection which he has bequeathed to galleries and museums across the country. He has fostered friendships with, and supported, some of Britain’s most well-known artists, and his Foundation has enabled a number of transformational art projects.  Always living by his abiding principle that ‘We are merely tenants of our possessions’, Ronnie believes that artworks, like nature, should be lived with, loved and passed on to future generations.


Nigel Walsh, Curator, Leeds Art Gallery, affirms Ronnie’s support for the project: “The nesting of Juliet Gutch’s proposed new sculpture in the wide shallow bowl of the old fountain at the bottom of Mill Ghyll will provide a welcome visual asset to the town, ensuring the future of the recovery of this original monument from 1865. The design, which takes its prompt from the natural world, is adventurous without being extreme and appropriate to an age that has a certain anxiety about the commissioning of monuments and sculpture for the public domain.


Behind its conception are interesting and considered thought-processes that carry forwards modernist sculpture’s concerns that emerged in the 1930s. New populist scientific ideas found affiliations with sculptural ideas that found expression in forms that reflected the outward shape of nature but also its beguiling inward and until then unseen dimensions.  This new fountainhead, which offers a contemplative evocation of the nature of moor-found sphagnum moss and its water-bearing properties, carries profound local significance that will engage and delight local audiences as well as the town’s growing number of visitors.”


Mike Sansbury, Manager of Grove Bookshop Ilkley says: “We’re really delighted to display this special model of the new Ilkley Fountain given by Ronnie Duncan at the Grove Bookshop. The fountain will be an important and beautiful addition to Ilkley, and we’re thrilled to be able to support it in this way."


Improving Ilkley needs to raise a final £10,000 plus £5,000 contingency to complete the fountain project. For more information about the model, and how to bid for it go to:


Updates of highest bid and date of the most recent bid will be added to the top of the JustGiving page so that bidders can check whether their own bid has been superseded.

The reserve price is £1,700.00 and the auction will be live until Wednesday 24th July.


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