The Nymph at the Ritz

Jenkins, waiting to meet Mark Members at the Palm Court at the Ritz Hotel, gazes on a South American family seated in front of the fountain. “Away on her pinnacle, the nymph seemed at once a member of this Latin family party …  Now she had strayed from her hosts to enjoy delicious private thoughts in peace while she examined the grimacing face of the river-god carved in the short surface of wall by the grotto. Pensive, quite unaware of the young tritons violently attempting to waft her away from the fountain by sounding their conches at full blast … ” [AW 37/31]

La Source The Palm Court Fountain Ritz Hotel London photo from HighTea.com

La Source
The Palm Court Fountain
Ritz Hotel London
photo from HighTea.com

The Ritz, which is the site of a number of key scenes in AW, opened in 1906. Despite his upper class background, Jenkins was not usually among the stylish, rich, aristocratic habitues of the Palm Court. The fountain, called La Source, is part of the Belle Epoque interior decorated by Waring and Gillow  to evoke Parisian elegance, akin to the Paris Ritz.  Powell’s description of the nymph exceeds any two-dimensional picture in capturing the ambience that drew other beautiful people to the room.  Today anyone with access to the Internet can reserve a seat at high tea there, which costs about £ 40 per person.

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