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October 2017

New to the Collection: Masonic Pitcher Owned by Charles Copeland

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Pitcher, 1807-1809. Herculaneum Pottery, Liverpool, England. Gift of Kitty Stayskal, 2016.061.1. Photograph by David Bohl.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s English pottery manufacturers sold great quantities of light colored earthenware, called creamware, to the American market.  Much of it was plain tableware, but consumers who wanted something special could select pitchers, punch bowls or other forms decorated with transfer-printed designs.  Many pottery manufacturers commissioned engravers to make transfer-prints for their wares that would be attractive particularly to Americans.  These designs related to current events or national heroes—George Washington was a favorite.  Along with prints that treated issues of the day, manufacturers created designs to appeal to Freemasons

This pitcher, marked as the product of the Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool, England, features two of the most common Masonic-themed designs found on transfer-print pitchers of the era. One is a verse of the “Entered Apprentice Song” in a surround ornamented with Masonic symbols (illustrated at left); the other design displays a raft of Masonic symbols flanked by two columns, topped by figures representing the virtues Faith, Hope and Charity (illustrated at right).  The pitcher was also personalized with the name of its owner— “Charles Copland” and his profession— “Housewright”—painted in gilding under the spout (illustrated below). 

Family history relates that this pitcher belonged to Charles Copeland, who lived from 1782 to 1809.  City directories and other records show that a man

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Pitcher, 1807-1809. Herculaneum Pottery, Liverpool, England. Gift of Kitty Stayskal, 2016.061.1. Photograph by David Bohl.

named Charles Copeland made his home on Orange Street in Boston and worked as a housewright, or builder, in the early 1800s.  Records at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts note that Charles Copeland, most likely the owner of this pitcher, took the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees in St. Andrew’s Lodge of Boston in 1807.  Copeland, or a well-wisher, may have ordered this pitcher to commemorate his becoming a Freemason.  With its Masonic-themed designs, along with Copeland’s name and occupation, this pitcher represented several elements of its owner’s identity.  Copeland died young, at just 27 years old, leaving his wife Sally with three small children.  For his family, who preserved this vessel for several generations, this pitcher may have also served as a memorial to its first owner.      

 

 

References

John D. Hamilton, Material Culture of the American Freemasons. Lexington, Massachusetts:  Museum of Our National Heritage, 1994.

Aimee E. Newell, Hilary Anderson Stelling and Catherine Compton Swanson, Curiosities of the Craft:  Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection, Boston and Lexington, Massachusetts:  Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, 2013

Robert Teitelman, Patricia A. Halfpenny and Ronald W. Fuchs II, Success to America:  Creamware for the American Market. Woodbridge, Suffolk:  Antiques Collectors’ Club, 2010.

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Pitcher, 1807-1809. Herculaneum Pottery, Liverpool, England. Gift of Kitty Stayskal, 2016.061.1. Photograph by David Bohl.

 


New Acquisitions Brings Attention to the Character and Life of a Freemason

Recently, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library acquired a collection of four Civil War letters written to Reverend Alonzo Hall Quint, the chaplain of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers and a Freemason. Below are images from two of the letters in this collection, as well as a transcription for both, which highlight Quint's humanity and his contributions to the Fraternity.

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Blog image 1

 

 

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  Blog image 2Letter from Moses Williams to Alonzo Hall Quint, August 24, 1862

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Boston, Aug. 24 1862
Revd. Alonzo H. Quint
Chaplain of the 2d Regt of Mass. Volunteers

My Dear Sir, I received by Thomas Connolly your letter of the 12th instant. For the account given of my son [William Blackstone Williams], and for your thoughtfulness in sending a lock of his hair, you have the heart felt thanks of myself and all my family. I was not prepared for the sad event, and I feel humbled that I was not, for the life of [a] true soldier is always uncertain. His business is to cheerfully obey orders whatever may be the result. My son, I believed to be cool and courageous, with a quick eye to perceive, and not wreckless [sic], and I had never thought that he would be killed in this war, but he died, as a patriot should die, in the cause of his country. He was my youngest son, and I mourn his loss, for he was a generous, manly, gallant boy. for yourself he had an affectionate regard, and always spoke of you, as the best man he knew, for the place you fill, and

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I am happy to bear testimony of the same expression from other officers in your regiments. In fact, they say you were on the battlefield doing what you could for the dead and wounded all  night after the battle. May God reward you for all your humane and patriotic deeds, and may he save our beloved country in this terrible hour of her tryal [sic]. Tom says he was near my son, when he was shot, that he with another helped him off a short distance, until the suffering was so great, that he ordered them to lay him down, and that when he was found, he was in a different place, and that there was in addition to the shot in the body, an apparent bayonet thrust in the neck. Will you tell me if you noticed any such thing. [sic] For your very kind notice of my son, and your consoling letter, in this my time of severe tryal [sic], you will always have my respect and esteem.

Very Truly,
Your friend, Moses Williams


A2017_048_4DSLetter from Grand Master William Parkman to
Alonzo Hall Quint, November 17, 1864

Boston, Nov. 17, 1864
Rev. A. H. Quint

My Dear Bro.
Yours under date of 8th is to hand and I am very much grateful to learn you are still alive and are about starting the Lodge anew. If you will please insert upon the back of the dispensation you now have the names of the Brethren to be associated with you and the date when added and also [send in/fill in?] the names of the officers you [?] appointed [and send it to me?]. I will make the endorsements that will [legalize?] you to now go, [?] and you will do so with my hearty good wishes for good success and happiness; the [work?] is one of sure success! And which will yield you a rich Reward and bring honor to your Mother Grand Lodge; be assured my heart is with and will do all I can to encourage you. With my very kind regards to all and especially to yourself. I am

Fraternally
William Parkman
Gr. Master

During his three-year military service to the country and throughout his life, Alonzo Hall Quint played an active role in the development and growth of Freemasonry. In 1861, after being mustered into the Army, Quint took on a leadership role in his regiment’s lodge, Bunker Hill Army Lodge, No. 5. He served as the Lodge’s Senior Warden, a position he held for the duration of the Lodge’s existence, and on several occasions served as the Lodge’s Acting Master, a position thrust upon Quint because of personnel changes, battle-related or otherwise. After Quint completed his military service in 1864, he continued his active participation and support of the Fraternity. In 1870, he accepted the appointment to the office of Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in great part to take a stand against the rebirth of the Anti-Masonic movement.

Alonzo Hall Quint died on November 4, 1896; an article in the Boston Evening Transcript commemorated his life, a life well lived.     

 


Captions

Letter from Moses Williams to Alonzo Hall Quint, August 24, 1862. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.

Letter from Grand Master William Parkman to Alonzo Hall Quint, November 17, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.


The Many Faces of George Washington

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

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George Washington, President of the United States of America, 1796. H.D. Symonds, publisher, London, England. Gift of Dr. William L. and Mary B. Guyton Collection, 83.50.57.

owns over 500 prints that depict president and Freemason George Washington. Dr. William L. Guyton (1915-2011) and his wife Mary B. Guyton (1915-2003) donated the majority of the prints to the Museum in the mid-1980s. Guyton, a retired surgeon and World War II combat veteran, was a well-known collector of silhouettes and George Washington prints and books.The prints in the collection illustrate the vastly different ways in which artists interpreted Washington’s likeness throughout his lifetime and after his death. Many of these prints are newly digitized and featured in the online exhibition The Many Faces of George Washington, currently available on our website. The exhibition highlights illustrations of Washington that reflect not only his different roles but also Americans changing perception of Washington as an iconic American figure.

The collection includes some lesser-known prints of George Washington that illustrate idiosyncratic interpretations of Washington in imaginative settings or have only a vague likeness to his physical appearance. Some historians attribute these fanciful interpretations to the “geographical remoteness” of printmakers and their potential audiences to George Washington. 

This engraving on the right, titled George Washington, President of the United States, is one published by Henry Delahoy Symonds (1741-1816) in London in 1796. Symonds, a British bookseller and publisher, produced a series of prints similar to this one, the same year. The prints included the same design elements—the ornamental border, the subject's posture— but featured different historic statesmen including English politicians Algernon Sidney (1623-1683) and Lord William Russell (1639-1683).

Interestingly, in 1792, Symonds had been prosecuted and jailed for publishing a pamphlet written by political philosopher Thomas Paine (1737-1809). The pamphlet titled, Letter Addressed to the Addressers, on the late proclamation, was a response to the Royal Proclamation forbidding publication of "seditious" materials similar to Paine's book, Rights of Man. This work advocated for equal political rights and condemned hereditary government. In spite of running afoul of the law, Symonds continued publishing in the political realm, as his print of Washington attests.

Explore the online exhibition to learn more and to see these prints in high resolution detail!

References:

Trish Loughran, The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770-1870, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Cherry Lewis, The Enlightened Mr. Parkinson: The Pioneering Life of a Forgotten Surgeon, New York: Pegasus Books, 2017.

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