Gregory Curci can look at a piece of cast metal and read the craftsman’s skill like an archeologist brushing away the sand from a long-forgotten artifact. Deep in the lines and imperfections of a piece of solid iron weighing thousands of pounds, he sees the hands of the maker.
“You can see what almost look like brush marks, it’s like they dug the mold out of the sand,” said Curci, running his hand across the 1,500-pound yoke of the bell that once hung in the spire of the Memorial Church. “Someone put every one of these brush strokes in this casting. A modern casting would look like it came out of a machine. This looks like someone made it by hand and sculpted it out of clay.”
Boston artist Gregory Curci was given the task of restoring and preserving a piece of Harvard history that weighs in at nearly 4 tons and was created in London in 1926, the same year Queen Elizabeth II was born. The bell that once called students to Morning Prayers each morning, to classes, and rang across the yard to mark occasions of celebration and sorrow, is now on display on the west portico of the Memorial Church following an extensive restoration.
The bell will be dedicated at a ceremony following Morning Prayers Friday, April 21, as part of a weekend of events celebrating the reopening of the church following an eight-month renovation project.