Discoveries from the Treasures of English Freemasonry
Silver Gilt Cornucopia and Ewers, 1852.
The set of silver gilt vessels are used in the ceremony for the formation, known as the Consecration, of a new lodge and in the laying of a Foundation Stone for a new building. The former ceremony involves the scattering of corn, the pouring of wine, the sprinkling of oil and the strewing of salt – emblematically to symbolise, respectively: abundance and plenty; joy and gladness; peace and harmony; and fidelity, hospitality and everlasting friendship.
The ewers and cornucopia were purchased in 1852 from Lambert & Rawlings, together with two columns and ivory mauls, at a cost of £194. 14s. 6d. (£2,000 itm). George Lambert was a Freemason who was made Grand Sword Bearer in Grand Lodge in 1881, and was Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths Company in 1887. The firm of George Lambert started up in 1819 and closed in 1916. The makers’ marks are those of Charles Thomas Fox and George Fox, silversmiths, who made a number of pieces for Lambert & Rawlings.
Cockerell’s Freemasons’ Hall, 1869.
Cockerell’s Hall was completed in 1869. The symmetrical façade conceals a more complicated plan behind. Sandby’s Hall was behind the left hand side of this main façade and this section still remains today. The much less grand façade beyond it on the left was also new, and was the Tavern with the Banqueting Hall behind. It replaced Soane’s Temple. This facade still survives, much altered behind, as the Connaught Rooms. The building on the far left in the background was the Bacon Hotel, which was largely untouched by Cockerell but later demolished to make way for Mark Masons’ Hall which occupied the site from 1899-1939.
Throne commissioned for George Augustus, Prince of Wales, later King George IV, 1791.
Grand Master’s throne with a carved framework of gilt lime wood, flanked by a pair of Doric columns. The throne’s arms and supports are formed from a double scroll of acanthus leaves with a lion’s mask and paw at the tip of each arm and the base of each support. The seat rails are carved with rosettes and incorporate on the front a rectangular plaque, carved with a Volume of the Sacred Law between the points of a pair of Compasses. The throne is surmounted by a carved wood ducal coronet, partially gilded and partially painted red, with a painted ermine trim; this is flanked below by two gilt cradles, on which are mounted a terrestrial globe and a celestial globe.
Soon after George Augustus, Prince of Wales (later George IV) became the first Royal Grand Master of the Moderns Grand Lodge in 1790, a ceremonial throne and two Warden’s chairs, replete with Masonic symbolism, were commissioned for use in the new Freemasons’ Hall in London. The London cabinet maker Robert Kennett, based at 67 New Bond Street, charged £157. 10s. (£17,000 itm) and took three months to complete the set in gilded lime wood.
George Augustus (1762-1830) was the eldest son of George III, whom he succeeded in 1820 following a period from 1789 when he acted, during the illness of the King, as Prince Regent. He was initiated on 6 February 1787 by his uncle the Duke of Cumberland at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall. In the same year he founded the Prince of Wales’s Lodge (now) No. 259 and was its Permanent Master from 1787 to 1820. The Lodge has the privilege of annually nominating a Grand Steward and its members are permitted to wear aprons with garter-blue edging. Whilst Prince of Wales he became Grand Master, in succession to his uncle, in 1790 and held that office until the Union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, when he accepted the title of Grand Patron of the Order.
This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the editor, Richard Gan and the publisher of “The Treasures of English Freemasonry 1717- 2017”. Copies of the book are available from Lewis Masonic; www.lewismasonic.co.uk”.