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New Ilkley Fountain model taking shape

Members of the Improving Ilkley team made a visit to the fabricator of the model for the Ilkley Fountain last Saturday and were delighted with the progress.

Artist and blacksmith James Wilkinson, who is based near Boroughbridge, has interpreted the design with great artistry and exceptional technical skill.

The model is an exact 1:5 scale replica of the final sculpture, and although the shaping of the metal has been carried out by hand, the measurements have all been digitised so that the next scaling up to full-size will be significantly quicker and easier.

In 2022 Improving Ilkley asked for designs to be submitted for a replacement, three were shortlisted and the winning design by Juliet and Jamie Gutch is based on the affinity of sphagnum moss with moorland water.

An artists impression of the new fountain

The model now needs to be galvanised, fettled and then etched in order to give it the matt, chalky finish which has been decided upon for the fountain, so that it will sit naturally within its setting and blend organically with the colours and textures around it.

The model is due to be finished during the week of 18th March. Images will be released as soon as possible after that date as well as a confirmed list of places where it can be viewed.


Architect Anthony Barnett, engineer Ian Whitlam, Improving Ilkley Trustee Louise Hepworth-Wood and artist Juliet Gutch and her husband Jamie took part in the visit. Juliet Gutch said: “It is always exciting to forge new collaborations between Yorkshire artists, and the Ilkley Fountain project is a precious opportunity for us all. We have admired the work of talented Yorkshire artist and blacksmith James Wilkinson ever since we first encountered it at RHS Harlow Carr. It is a privilege for us to work alongside him as we develop our designs together and bring the fountain design to life for the first time. We are looking forward to sharing the model with the Ilkley community in a few weeks’ time”.


The team would like to thank the donors, who would prefer to remain anonymous, who generously offered to specifically fund the scale model for the purposes of developing the project.


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