By Charles Mickey, Director Emeritus of Lanier Theological Library
Christmas at LTL is always very special in many ways. One of our favorite traditions is our annual Fontanini display at the west end of the main hall. In November 2017, Peggy Hudson donated her extensive collection to the LTL. It is a fascinating collection of miniature figurines, houses, stables, etc. in a first-century Bethlehem setting and was first displayed at the library during the Christmas season of 2017.
Mark Wilke, a friend of the Lanier family, volunteers his time and talent each year to create the display for the extensive collection. The donation and the display are generous gifts to the staff, our patrons, and visitors.
Emmanuele Fontanini was an Italian artisan who opened his shop in 1908, and his company has become well known in producing Nativity sets. Their products were not readily available in the US until 1973 when they exploded in popularity. Elio Simonetti is the sculptor who designs new pieces which can take up to 2 years to complete. The prototype in clay eventually becomes a high-quality polymer resin figurine in several sizes which are painted masterfully by hand.