Sculptures & Fountains Tour: Weeping Zeus

Location: The Mountain

The Weeping Zeus bust was purchased by Henry Scripps Booth in 1960 at an auction from Mansion House in Scotland, where it had served for over 100 years as a decorative feature. Carved of Carrara marble in Italy in the early 19th century, it is a possible copy of Otricoli Zeus which was found in a town by that name north of Rome and is now in the Vatican Museum.

Legend holds that this father of the Greek gods, accustomed to a more exciting existence on Mount Olympus, is unhappy with the peace and quiet of his present location.

His eyes were drilled out to add water works to the piece. If you step on the right stone at his base, Zeus will shoot water out of his eyes! This was done at the direction of Henry Booth, the youngest son of George Gough and Ellen Scripps Booth.

This type of trick fountain is known as a “folly.” Follies were sometimes found on English estates as a joke to be played on guests.