At the end of May this year, we published an article in which we reported that the Wrocław Neptune from Plac Nowy Targ had been partially found. The Lower Silesian Provincial Conservator of Monuments confirmed at the time that the find had been part of a fountain years ago. The sculpture was located in Wielowieś (Syców municipality) in Lower Silesia. Now further pieces of this unique puzzle have been found
The Neptune sculpture was the subject of research by Dr Tomasz Sielicki, a Vratislavian and historian, who managed to locate the monument. It turned out that Neptune had been lying in the bushes next to the Wielowiejski estate all along. Its authenticity was confirmed by staff from the National Museum in Wrocław
The Neptune of Wrocław in 1902. Source: Daviidos, public domain
The researchers, as announced, returned to the manor house park, where, a few dozen metres from the site of the previous discovery, they came across, among other things, the body of a mermaid and a triton. All these parts match the previously discovered fragments. Some parts are still missing, such as the head, but the barge sculpture is nevertheless becoming more and more complete. For several decades, the fountain, which stood in Nowy Targ Square until the 18th, was thought to have been lost or destroyed during the Second World War. In December 2022, a historian from Wrocław discovered documents that led him to Wielowieś, where the sculpture still adorned the palace garden in the 1960s
Found fragments of the sculpture. Photo: Tomasz Sielicki
The Baroque fountain of Neptune was erected in the then Neumarkt in 1732, commissioned by the city council. It was made of sandstone. The figure of Neptune was placed on a column, at the foot of which were four dolphins whose mouths gushed water. The column itself was supported by four nereids and set on a bowl stylised as a shell. The whole was situated in a ten-sided pool. In the second half of the 19th century, the fountain became a favourite element of Wrocław’s landscape, and in the interwar period it was one of the city’s most important symbols and a frequent subject of postcards. The fountain was destroyed at the end of World War II, during the siege of Wrocław, when the entire New Market was destroyed. In October 2010, archaeological work began on the square, prior to the construction of an underground car park. In the first days, fragments of the destroyed sculpture were found. Dr Sielicki managed to establish that it was not, however, a Baroque original, but a copy that had stood in the square during the general renovation of the fountain, which was carried out in 1874. It was this that was destroyed in the spring of 1945 during the siege of Wrocław. According to articles in the press at the time of the fountain’s refurbishment, it appeared that the original Neptune had been dismantled and transported to a property in Wielowieś near Syców
The fragments found were transported to the City Museum on Slezna Street in Wrocław. Researchers are still looking for the lost head of Neptune and have announced that they will return to Wielowieś again. According to historian Dr. Tomasz Sielicki, for the time being there is no decision on what to do with the found fragments of the historic sculpture. There are two options: the found fragments will be treated as destruct, which will undergo restoration and be put together from the preserved elements, or a full reconstruction of the baroque work will be made. A decision has not yet been made
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