I have recently come across the phrase "BEFORE an easel" and been slightly confused by this word usage. At first I thought the author misused the preposition "before" (I have always considered it the preposition of time i.e. "before 700 B.C.") and that it should be definitely replaced by "in front of". However, having scrutinized some examples in the dictionaries, I found that both Kipling J.R. and Thackeray W.M., the English authors, did use "before" in such a phrase.
Can anybody clarify this issue for me? Is it right to say "before an/the easel"? Or maybe is it a kind of fixed expression?
Thank you in advance!