Architect – Mikhail Zemtsov, master mechanic – Paul Sualem, woodcarver – Nicolas Pinault.
The intricate fountain “Favorite” was built in one of the “Green rooms” of the Summer Garden at the behest of Empress Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great. The history of its creation dates back to 1725, when a five-jet “Favorite” water cannon was successfully tested in Peterhof, in which the water pressure set in motion a hidden turbine. On the horizontal wheel were placed four ducks, which the dog “chased”. The action of the water set the wheel in motion. The water organ sounded the figures of a dog and ducks. According to eyewitnesses, at the same time, the dog was completely natural “brehat”, and the ducks “quacked”.
The Empress liked the fountain so much that on September 24, 1725 she ordered to make the same water cannon in the Summer Garden. However, the “Favorite” fountain appeared in the green study of the Summer Garden only in 1728. Mikhail Zemtsov reports that the figures of the dog and ducks are made in copper, the mechanisms are ready and put into the cellar, the water is supplied through pipes. It remains to make “bellows and mushrooms with which the dog will bark, and the ducks will scream, as well as put the ducks and the dog on the car and paint against the natural ones.” The mechanism was created by the French master mechanic Paul Sualem. Wooden models of dogs and ducks were made by Nicolas Pinault. Copper figures of animals were made from these models.
The last mention of the figures on the fountain dates back to 1743. Probably, under Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the fountain ceased to be “intricate”, and it was converted into a single-jet, which it is represented on the plan of Saint-Hilaire (late 1760s).
The fountain was dismantled in 1786 – together with other water cannons of the Summer Garden.
Archaeological research carried out in 2010 confirmed that the Favorite fountain had two chambers. The upper chamber or bowl was filled with water and remained in full view of the visitors, while the lower chamber housed mechanisms that set the figures in motion.
The brick structures of the fountain were discovered at a depth of 1.3 meters from the surface of the earth. The brickwork of the base of the lower chamber of the fountain is well preserved. No cladding elements were found.
Now on the site of the Favoritka fountain there is a playground with a sandbox in the form of a fountain.