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Charles Codman (1800 or 1801-1842)
USA: Maine, Portland
paint on silk; cotton
overall: 17-1/2"h x 14-1/2"w
Masonic Master Mason apron with shield-shaped body and rounded flap; white silk with blue pleated floral woven ribbon trim; hand-painted on flap: all-seeing eye with red glory rays, sun, moon and stars; apron: three steps, checkered pavement, archway with "G" and winding steps, pillars flank pavement; Bible, square and compasses at bottom; other Masonic symbols and tools surround; signed under flap "C. CODMAN"; reverse signed in pencil: "Martha Anderson / Falmouth / Maine"; cotton backing.
The Maine artist who decorated this apron, Charles Codman, had a full repertoire of abilities. He advertised that he painted banners, signs, landscapes, clock dials and furniture. This diversity of offerings illustrates how popular painting was as a method of decoration in the early 1800s as well as how craftsmen outside of densely populated areas relied on a broad range of skills to earn a living. “The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Collection,” March 2016-March 2017