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Masonic Master Mason Apron
ca. 1817
Maker not marked
USA: Pennsylvania
Watercolor and ink on silk; cotton
overall: 15-3/4"h x 16-1/2"w
Special Acquisitions Fund

Masonic Master Mason apron with rectangular body with rounded corners and rounded flap; white silk hand-painted with blue silk gathered ribbon trim; three architectural columns (Ionic, Doric, Corinthian; two on one side, one on the other) surmounted by figures of Fortitude and Prudence; figures of Hope and Charity, mosaic pavement, square and compasses with six pointed star in center; at top sun, moon, stars, angel blowing trumpet with banner that reads "Grand / Lodge of / Pennsylvania"; on the flap all-seeing eye and "Sit Lux et Lux Fuit." Cotton backing and one silk ribbon tie.

Apron makers, regardless of whether they printed, painted or stitched their creations, took inspiration and design elements from many places. Eye-catching elements on this one-of-a-kind hand painted apron, such as the columns topped with female figures and an angel bearing a trumpet at the center of the apron, may have come from an English Masonic membership certificate design. Similar elements, likely taken from the same source, can be seen on a printed apron from Connecticut that is displayed nearby. “The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Collection,” March 2016-March 2017

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