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Masonic Tracing Board
ca. 1820
Maker not marked
USA: Massachusetts
oil on canvas
overall: 65"h x 40-1/2"w x1"d
Special Acquisitions Fund

Masonic tracing board showing a view of King Solomon's Temple in neoclassical style. The two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, stand in the foreground courtyard accompanied by an array of symbols including the beehive of industry, rough and smooth ashlars, a mallet and chisel, a lewis (lifting ring) for raising blocks of stone, an hourglass containing the sands of time, a 24-inch marking gauge to measure work, a trowel to spread the cement of brotherly love, and a slate board upon which the Grand Master draws his plans. In the center, a Bible is surrounded by the three "lights" of Masonry accompanied by a square, plumb and level that allude to the three principal officers of the lodge. The seal of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is shown on the building's pediment. Statues of the allegorical figures of Faith, Hope and Charity adorn the vestibule roof. Primarily painted in shades of blue, pink, gold and white.

Hand-painted tracing boards like this one helped Freemasons learn about Masonic symbols. The artist who created this one depicted King Solomon’s Temple in perspective and in the style of architecture found in ancient Greece and Rome. In the foreground, the artist detailed important Masonic tools and symbols. This tracing board may have been part of the lodge furnishings of King Solomon's Lodge in Charlestown, Massachusetts.