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Thomas Lownds (1762-1825)
Maker not marked
USA: New York, New York City (probably)
Oil on wooden panel
board: 30"h x 25-3/4"w; frame 2024: 35-1/2"h x 30-1/2"w x ___"d
Museum Purchase in Memory of Charles Gordon Lambert and through the Generosity of the Augusta Masonic Bodies

Half-length portrait painting of a clean-shaven man with greying hair parted in the middle; oil paint onf wooden panel; he wears a black coat and a white cravat and his right hand rests atop a brown cane. Behind him is a draped red curtain (PR side of painting) and a tan column (PL side). Gold-painted wooded frame has rectangular, gold-colored metal plaque affixed it at bottom edge of painting; it bears the text "THOMAS LOWNDS / JULY 30, 1762 - DECEMBER 14, 1825". Reverse coated with dark brown wood stain; it has an "L" (possibly) scratched into lower center of backing board, and an area at top center where brown stain is scratched or rubbed away.

This undated portrait depicts Thomas Lownds (1762-1825) as a vibrant man in middle age. In the image Lownds sits on a dark upholstered chair, with red drapery behind him. The understated background and his black clothing provide a contrast to Lownds’ expressive face, crisp neckwear, and the light-colored cane he holds in his right hand. This portrait is not signed, but its unknown artist left a compelling visual record of a strong personality who helped establish and sustain several Masonic organizations in their formative years. Lownds was, as one observer described, “…inexhaustible in his enthusiasm for Masonry….” Lownds’ Masonic record supports this account. Lownds played key roles in several Masonic groups established in New York City in the early 1800s. He held the offices of Deputy High Priest and Grand Visitor of the Grand Chapter of New York in the 1810s. A charter member of the Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection in 1808, Lownds later worked the Scottish Rite degrees with Joseph Cerneau, whose Rite was in competition with the Scottish Rite’s Northern Masonic Jurisdiction for many years. Additionally, Lownds held leadership roles in the at Columbian Commandery No. 1 and at the Knights Templar Grand Encampment in the 1810s. Lownds helped establish Cryptic Masonry in the United States, serving as Grand Master of the Grand Council when it was organized in 1823. From 1802 through the early 1820s, Lownds participated in almost all the forms of Freemasonry that were active in New York. When he died at the age of 63, the newspapers noted simply that Lownds was, “…an old and respectable inhabitant of this city.” For additional information, see blog post, Mar. 22, 2022, https://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/2022/03/new-to-the-collection-portrait-of-thomas-lownds-1762-1825.html

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