chapter  3
5 Pages

THE ICONOGRAPHY OF CRABTREE

WithTerence Spencer

The figure in this picture appears, superficially at any rate, although not exactly stark, to be dowered with very little in the way of sensibility. And I can sympathise with that great critic who, gazing upon the portrait, uttered the sullen censure, ‘If Crabtree, the less Crabtree he!’ Precious to us would be a portrait of the poet in the glory of early youth-that he could come back into memory like as he was in the dayspring of his fancy, with hope like a fiery column before him, the dark pillar not yet turned; some pictorial image which would correspond to those verbal descriptions that we have of him, his poet’s eyes in a fine frenzy reeling, his characteristic pose, those powerful, nimble hands, the left habitually plunged into his waistcoat, ‘leaving his right hand free’, as one of his contemporaries nobly described it, ‘for the adornment of his discourse and for the manipulation of his liquor’.