As my Boston adventure draws to a close, I present two more of my ever-expanding list of ‘Random Facts about Stanley Pleeber’. Not the last two facts by any means, but the last you may find here for a while.
Fact no. 6: One of Pleeber’s most treasured and controversial possessions was a nail clipping said to have belonged to William Shakespeare. This single item could be said to be responsible for the great lack of respect Pleeber suffered from in his career. Even now we struggle to comprehend how it was he ever believed in the validity of the article in question. I ought to add, however, that he never claimed the clipping was from Shakespeare’s body itself; only that it had belonged to the late English playwright. From whose toe or finger the clipping actually came remains of one the world’s great mysteries.
Fact no. 7: In 1926, Stanley Pleeber sat for a portrait bust by local sculptor John P P Phillips. Though Phillips was said to have achieved a remarkable, even frightening likeness, Pleeber was disappointed by the finished product. ‘No one told me I was to have been cast in treacle’ he remarked, only to be reminded that the bust was, strictly speaking, made of bronze. ‘Bronze, schmonze,’ replied Pleeber, ‘it looks much like treacle to me’. From here on in, Pleeber was always an outspoken critic of both bronze and marble sculpture. Aligning himself with the young art critic Jeremy Baleknik (author of the infamous treatise Sculptors! Where is Your Colour?) he fought for the use of bright colours in public statues. In 1941 he got his wish, when a bright pink statue of Washington was unveiled in Swington, Connecticut. It was, sadly, pulled down by vandals within a week of its erection.