La Porteuse D'Eau de Julien Dillens

La Porteuse d'Eau (The Water Carrier) is a bronze statue of Julien Dillens erected in the centre of the Barrière of Saint-Gilles (Saint-Gilles, Belgium), on the 10th of April 1900.

In 1898, the municipal council of SAINT-GILLES-lez-Bruxelles decided to place a candelabrum fountain in the middle of the intersection of the Barrière of Saint-Gilles. The creation of it was entrusted to the architect-sculptor Alban-Chambon.

The lower part and cauldrons were in granite, while the column of the pedestal of 1,40m in diameter, in sandstone flamed, was decorated with four gilded bronze lanterns. The fountain was topped by a gilded bronze statuette by sculptor Julien Dillens and called « LA PORTEUSE D'EAU ».

Julien Dillens was inspired by a real young girl who drew water of the Bocq, close to the square, to water the horses that pulled the bus that had its terminus on the square.

The agreement signed between Alban-Chambon and the town stated that the work had to be completed and put in place not later than the 1st of May 1899. It was only commissioned in April 1900. In 1902, a dispute arised between the contracting parts because the sandstone column showed a crack. In 1907, the fountain had to be cleaned and refilled with artificial cement. In 1929, the lanterns disappeared. The fountain was dismantled in 1932 and the statue of « La Porteuse d'Eau » was transferred to a small garden of the avenue du Parc.

On the 31st of January 1974, the municipal council decided to rebuild a fountain in the middle of the “Barrière” and to put « la Porteuse d’Eau » back at the top of it. The project was entrusted to the architect Jean Delhaye and the new fountain was commissioned in the summer 1977.

Attacked by pollution, a copy replaced it in 1992, the original is on display in the town hall on a level of the main staircase.