The next exhibition in The Library and Museum at Grand Lodge headquarters in Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ is Encounters: Artists and Freemasonry. It runs from Monday 25th February 2013 - Friday 20th September 2013 and admission is free.
Artists have been associated with Freemasonry since the 18th century. For some artists Freemasons and their lodges were a useful source of patronage. Other artists responded to the values of Freemasonry and its legendary history incorporating its symbolism and stories in the art they produced. Drawing on the collections of the Library and Museum and with examples from across Europe, this exhibition will explore those individual artistic responses. William Hogarth or Alvin Langdon Coburn looked at Freemasonry within their established fields of, respectively, satirical prints and photography. Other artists produced Masonic designs in media for which they are less well known in art history. Many artistic styles across three centuries are represented including examples of contemporary artists.
Sir James Thornhill, Hogarth’s father-in-law and the leading decorative painter of the early 1700s, was a keen Freemason in the early days of Grand Lodge. Amongst his artistic work is the frontispiece for the 1725 engraved list of lodges (forerunner of the Masonic Year Book). It was engraved by John Pine. Thornhill’s design shows an architect with a set of building plans which he is showing to a King, clearly a reference to Masonic ceremonies. In the scene behind are two buildings of a classical architectural design.
Alphonse Mucha was a Czech artist whose poster and advertisement designs frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing robes and were typical of the Art Nouveau style of the late 1800s. In the 1920s he designed the jewels for the then newly formed Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia which will be on display.
The Exhibition Poster can be seen here.
For more information about The Library and Museum of Freemasonry please visit the website. http://freemasonry.london.museum/