The Neptune fountain in Schonbrunn Palace is located at the foot of the Glorietta, it was
designed as the crowning element of the Great Parterre, and conceived as part of the overall design of the gardens and park commissioned by Maria Theresa in the 1770s.
Neptune driving across the seas was used as a symbol of monarchs controlling the destiny of their countries.
It was very probably designed by Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, while the sculptural group of Sterzing marble was executed by Wilhelm Beyer. A retaining wall curving back into the slope of the hill, its balustrade crowned with vases, forms the back wall of the vast basin.
At the centre of the figural group above a rocky grotto stands Neptune in a shell-shaped chariot, his trident in his hand. To his left is a nymph, while on his right kneels the sea-goddess Thetis, entreating Neptune to favour the voyage of her son, Achilles, who has set off to conquer Troy. Frolicking at the foot of the grotto are the Tritons, creatures who are half-man and half-fish, and belong to Neptune’s entourage. They hold conch shell trumpets with which they can inspire fear in both man and beast, and are restraining the hippocampi or sea-horses who draw Neptune’s chariot across the seas.