Inside Dr. Lovett’s Desk

We have a box that we keep back in the Woodson’s vault that holds several items that were in Dr. Lovett’s desk when he died. I just shot a video with Brandon about it this morning so I’m not going to say too much about it right now. But there was something in there that didn’t make it into the film but still caught my attention and then held it for most of the day, even as I went about my regular business. There was a single photograph inside a small envelope that I hadn’t noticed before. Here it is:

I think it’s beautiful. The large palms glimpsed through the ornate cloisters seem exotic and mysterious to me. Dr. Lovett must have loved it too, because he wrote something on the back of the envelope that held it: “Keep. The photograph came from [Rice Professor of French] Mr. Moraud, who is seeking the negative from the foreign visitor who made it. 11 June 1939.” It was still in his desk in 1957.

Bonus: The sundial is back! Remember this? Well, here we are today:

I’m not sure it’s all properly aligned and so forth, plus I can’t help but note that the tip and tail of the arrow aren’t there, but I have to say it really looks good. I do wonder about the zodiac sign for June, though, which to the untrained eye looks quite a bit more like a lobster than a crab.

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5 Responses to Inside Dr. Lovett’s Desk

  1. Helen Toombs says:

    Quite a touching note, really, by Dr Lovett. I think that I might have shed a tear, as a second to his long-term vote for appreciation of the scene.

  2. Richard Schafer (Lovett '73) says:

    I’d looked at the sundial many times, and never noticed the lobster. That’s very odd, although all of the figures look a little unusual—I’ve never seen a Gemini with seated twins like that. Glad to see it back in its proper place, even with parts still missing.

  3. Lynn says:

    I want to write about that sundial …

  4. lilypons says:

    I have access to an email regarding the restoration/repair of the sundial. Regarding the “tip and tail” of the arrow. Per representative from Guebelin in Switzerland, “The frame has been repainted (originally black galvanized) the rod replaced, without arrow and tail. Some screws were replaced, lots of oxidized. Sometimes due to vandalism, often the rod was replaced or transformed to a less valuable one. ( sometimes visitors injured themselves at the tail while reading the time……) We were thinking the same at your dial.[sic]” I’m assuming the person is Swiss, so the disjointed feel of the words is probably English as a 2nd language. The Gubelin invoice reads:
    “Maintenance service of frame, dial, rod”
    “Frame, made of iron: Sandblasting, galvanizing in original colour
    Dial, center shield, sunrise and sunset plates, of aluminium new anodizing, colorizing of engravings, in original colour
    takeing apart and reassembling, delivery and pic up at supliers[sic]”
    Interesting that it doesn’t really say anything specific about the Zodiac figures in either the invoice or the email, unless they are considered “engravings.” Hmmm.

  5. Don Johnson says:

    Back to the palm tree! I was very surprised to see it. I thought Teas Nursery had planted Live Oaks on the campus long before 1939. Today there is a gigantic live oak where the palm tree is in the photo. Am I confused?

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