By 1911 Beatrice Fenton was on her way to establishing what would be a long professional career in Philadelphia. She set up a studio at 1319 Spruce Street and showed for the first time in the annual exhibition at the Academy, beginning a fifty-year exhibition record there. She produced many sculptures for both public spaces and private gardens, but was perhaps best known for her charming, whimsical fountains.
The first of these, Seaweed Fountain (1920), represents a young girl riding the back of a large flapping turtle, her outstretched arms dripping with seaweed.
“Pretend you’ve just climbed out of the ocean,” Fenton instructed her young model. “Shake the seaweed from your hands.” This exuberant fountain won both the George D. Widener Gold Medal and the Fellowship’s annual prize when it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1922. Later that year, Seaweed Fountain was installed in Fairmount Park, where it remained until 1983, when it was moved to Horticultural Hall in Fairmount Park. Another cast of Seaweed Fountain entered the collection of Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, in South Carolina in 1934.