I just finished David Crystal’s “By Hook or By Crook” today (it’s more or less a peripatetic journey through Wales and England via the English language), and there is one photograph in the Lichfield chapter of the statue of Samuel Johnson in the Market Square. The photo in the book is straight on from the front (facing Johnson’s front directly) and the front panel of the pedestal caught my eye. Not-so-good photo of it here. The panel in question is on the right in that photo.
To my modern (and gay) eye, that front panel looks quite lascivious. I’m assuming, however, that it’s some 18th century metaphor or something. It is, apparently, Johnson using someone else for a chair as he writes…in other words, he’s sitting in another man’s lap, though the positioning is rather more…active…than that.
So…British Dopers (and if you’re actually FROM or have lived in Lichfield, better yet)…what is going on in that front panel?
He’s not sitting on anyone’s lap. It looks to me more like someone being carried on others’ shoulders. There is a small text description of what each of the pictures shows underneath, but wouldn’t you know I can only find good enough images of the other sides to read them, not that one. Maybe someone else can google better (or go to Lichfield).