Architect unknown master mechanic Paul Soualem
The construction of the Lacoste fountain began in 1733. However, the water cannon was completed no earlier than 1736. Such a long construction of the water cannon can be explained by the fact that the Lacoste fountain was originally planned to be intricate, by analogy with the neighboring Favorite. The water cannon was designed as a two-chamber: with a mechanism and figures spinning on a drum. The central composition of the fountain could be the figure of the jester Anna Ioannovna – Lacoste, who began his career at the court of Peter the Great. Probably, according to the plan of the architect of the water jet, the figurine was supposed to “throw” water and make sounds with the help of special mechanisms arranged in the design of the fountain.
In the construction of the water cannon, the “fantannago and machine master” Paul Soualem, who came to Russia with J.-B. Leblon in 1716.
Archaeological excavations carried out in 2010 revealed that the fountain survived two construction periods: initially, Lacoste had a lower chamber in which it was supposed to install a mechanism that set in motion the complex multi-figured composition of the fountain. However, apparently, the mechanism on the Lacoste was never installed, and the original plan was changed. Whether this was due to the jester’s disgrace or some other circumstances is unknown. But on the plan of Saint-Hilaire (late 1760s), the fountain is presented as a single-jet, devoid of any intricate figures.
Archaeological excavations carried out by the expedition of P.E. Sorokin, found that the brick structures of the fountain were at a depth of 0.6-0.7 meters from the surface of the earth. The brickwork of the base of the fountain from the 1730s is well preserved, as well as the cast-iron pipeline running through the Lacoste towards the Main Alley. From the eastern side, a brick vaulted collector approaches the fountain, through which water entered the lower chamber of the fountain – to the wheel and mechanisms. No lining elements were found.
Thanks to the Conservation Clearing of Fountain Structures, it became possible to museumify the water cannon, which became a kind of “time capsule” that brings us the “breath” of the 18th century – the Golden era of the Summer Garden.