Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Masonic Armchair

Probably made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Painted mahogany, maple
50 1/2 x 25 5/8 x 24 3/4 in. (128.3 x 65.1 x 62.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Kaufman, 2000
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 717
The seat and legs of this example are typical of the best Boston Rococo chairs, but the back is unusual. It is made up of Masonic symbols: fluted columns (referring to King Solomon’s temple), a rusticated arch (arch of heaven), a compass and square (faith and reason), a mason’s level (equality), a serpent swallowing its tail (rebirth), and a trowel (cement of brotherly love). The chair was probably made for the senior warden of an as-yet-unidentified Massachusetts lodge.
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