Originally, the Littlefield Fountain was designed by the world famous sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, and his equally talented assistant, Waldine Amanda Tauch, as a World War 1 Memorial fountain. It has since become an icon representing the University of Texas and its Austin campus.
The fountain sculpture consists of many military, nautical and mythical symbols. The fountain sculptures are fashioned in bronze, set in a granite pool and backed by a large limestone wall. Behind the fountain are six buildings used by the university which also have sculptures of famous men, Washington, Wilson, Davis, Johnston, Hogg, and Reagan, also sculpted by Coppini and Tauch as part of this fountain design. The fountain features the bow of a ship representing the Boat of America. A large eagle figure is on the prow, much like a figure head on sailing ships. Behind the eagle, on the bow, stands the figure Columbia representing the Spirit of Independence, who is holding aloft torches that represent the Flame of Freedom. On Columbia's proper left is an Army soldier holding a large sword, blade down, with the soldier's proper right hand holding the hilt at chest height and his proper left hand and arm is help outward by his side while holding a round shield. On Columbia's proper right is a Navy seaman who is holding an oar with both hands, his proper right hand being above his proper left hand by a foot or so. A cape on the sailor's back is held in place by a thinn belt strapped across his chest. In front of the ship are three hippocamps (mythical creatures that are part horse with webbed hooves, and part fish and fins forming the back part of the creature) fashioned as if they were driving through the surf in front of the ship. These figures represent mob hysteria, but the two outer hippocamps that have mermen riding them represent man's discipline. Each merman holds the mane of his hippocamp in one hand and holds the flowing mane of the center hippocamp in his other hand, thus controlling all three creatures.
On the proper right side of the ship's bow is engraved the sculptor's name, P. Coppini Sc. On the proper left side of the ship's bow is an attached bronse plaque inscribed with "Columbia - November XI MDCCCCXVIII." On the proper right side of the ship's bow is attached a bronse plaque inscribed with "Columbia - April MD CCCCXVII."
Behind the limestone wall is a bronze door that functions as a memorial plaque as well as the entrance into the water works of the fountain. There is a small emblem above the bronze door that is a laurel with a banner across the leaves. On the proper left side of the banner is year "1917" and on the proper left side of the banner is the year "1918." The door is embellished with a large sword in the center, hilt upward, blade downward, that divides the long list of names of the WW1 military personnel honored by this fountain. Above the sword is the following text:
Sons and Daughters
University of Texas
gave their lives
to their country
In the World War"
There is a newer marker on the proper left of the main memorial door/plaque that is an appreciation plaque for funding the restoration of the fountain in 2007. This plaque reads:
"The University of Texas at Austin
recognizes with deep appreciation
(Bachelor of Architecture - 1972)
and Rita Millwee
for their generous gift to the
Littlefield Fountain Restoration 2007
in honor of
America's Armed Services"
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