This drawing was published in a 1903 feature article that presented Haskell as an “insatiate student” with modern tastes and traditional sensibilities. Haskell’s lyrical drawing was intended for publication in a volume of poetry by Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, two towering figures in Victorian literature. The volume seems not to have been published, and so the illustration remains isolated from its literary context.
Evaluated on its own merit, The Tree of Eternal Beauty encapsulates the period in which Haskell channeled his creative efforts in pen-and-ink drawing. Despite the complexity of the final design, Haskell used a basic framework in graphite, which defines only the outer reaches of the composition and the geometric construction of the surrounding frame. The intricate tapestry of knotted root systems and billowing clouds was drawn directly with ink. Clouds appear to eddy and swirl where they meet the foliage of an ancient tree.
KG, How He Was to His Talents exhibition, March 24, 2011-August 7, 2011