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Masonic Apron
ca. 1791
USA: Massachusetts
Ink and wash on leather
overall: 20 in x 21 1/4 in
Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts

White leather Masonic apron with rounded corners and flap. Symbols in ink with yellow and blue wash. Central motif is large compasses with points touching quadrant arch. Above compasses is scroll work and floral design that reads: "Time Deum et Patriam Ama" (Fear God and Love your Country). At left and right are pillars with level and plumb. Within compasses are sun, square, Bible opened to St. John, square & compasses, key, trowel, above black and blue checkered pavement with other symbols; reads: "I.R. 5791" On back is written: "John Row from his Brother John G. Rogers."

This rare apron is of a shape typical in the late 1700s, when men wore aprons tied around their waists, visible under cutaway jackets. The Latin inscription on the scrollwork, "Time Deum et Patrium Ama," translates to "Fear God and Love Your Country," a variation of the British motto, "Fear God and Honor the King." A note penciled on the back reads, "John Row from his Brother John G. Rogers." In 1789 Row joined Tyrian Lodge in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He died in 1812.