This exhibit was inspired by the joie de vivre of one of the Lloyd's dearest patrons and friends, Pierre René Sotteau (1925-2010). Sotteau, Professor Emeritus of Miami University, French Department, was a long-time user of the Lloyd's resources, co-curated exhibits, wrote for Lloyd's newsletter Lloydiana, lectured at the Lloyd, and participated in many other Lloyd activities. In his last years, he was researching Curtis Gates Lloyd, one of the Library's founders. The two shared a love of travel, and Sotteau had been busily tracking down Lloyd's travels around the world. A curious connection to Lloyd, through Sotteau, was revealed in the person of photographer, Joel Quimby, an acquaintance of Pierre's. Quimby's photographs of Madagascar from a recent trip are remarkably similar to Lloyd's photographs of the Caribbean islands more than 100 years ago. Pierre Sotteau connected Lloyd and Quimby in a way he perhaps never imagined. Now, the travels of all three men will now be on exhibit.
The book and memorabilia exhibit is arranged geographically by some of Sotteau's most loved countries and regions of Europe, Central America, and the United States. Southern France, his birthplace, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, and the Grand Tetons in the United States all come alive through the Lloyd's rich collection of botanical books and art from almost every corner of the world. Books on display include some of the Lloyd's well-known holdings, as well as others which are more obscure. Pierre-Joseph Redouté, often called the Raphael of Flowers, is represented by selections from each of his two most well-known works, Les Liliacées, 1816, [see image of Lily of the Valley by Redouté] and Les Roses, 1824. James Bateman's magnificent book, The Orchidacea of Mexico & Guatemala, 1837, is on display along with many other books on the orchids and tropical flora of Central America. In addition, there are many books on alpine flowers, understandably one of Sotteau's favorites having grown up in Lyons, France, so near the Alps, through which he often hiked. The gardens and flora of Italy and Spain are also featured, as are the plants and trees of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, perhaps one of Sotteau's favorite destinations in the United States. Accompanying the Lloyd books are many photographs and souvenirs, such as several mola art works from Panama, maps, and travel guides.
The photographs in the Lloyd Art Gallery provide an interesting contrast between the images, techniques, and equipment used in the 19th and 21st centuries. Although the subject matter, the Caribbean Islands and Madagascar are worlds apart, the images of the inhabitants of each place are remarkably alike although they differ in presentation from the black and white of the 19th century to the color of the 21st.