It is not known when Pine became a Freemason. He was
a member of the prestigious Lodge which met at the Horn
Tavern in Westminster, one of the four Lodges which formed
the Grand Lodge in 1717, now the Royal Somerset House
and Inverness Lodge No. 4.
He also belonged to the Lodge which met at the Globe
in Moorgate, now Old Dundee Lodge No. 18. In 1730, Pine
served as Marshal at the Grand Feast, directing proceedings
‘with his truncheon blew, tipt with gold’.
Following his success with the 1723 Book of Constitutions,
Pine became the engraver preferred by Grand Lodge. From
1725 to 1741, he produced the annual engraved lists of Lodges.
These were directories of Lodges warranted by Grand Lodge,
giving details of their time and place of meeting.
Each Lodge is distinguished by a miniature engraving of a
sign appropriate to the Lodge, usually that of the tavern where
the Lodge met. These tiny books are not only charming
works of art, but also vital evidence for the early development
The Masonic engravings by Hogarth, such as the drunken
Freemason returning home in ‘Night’, suggest a troubled relationship
with Freemasonry. Pine was more willing to place his
artistic gifts directly at the service of the Craft. He enthusiastically
suggested ways in which he could assist Grand Lodge, by
for example etching minutes of its meetings so that they could
be quickly distributed.
Pine’s relationship with Grand Lodge was important in
his later development as an artist. Freemasonry apparently
brought him in contact with the antiquary and scientist
William Stukeley, and Pine engraved some of Stukeley’s
drawings to illustrate his historical compilation Itinerararium
Pine’s interest in wider philosophical issues is evident
in his illustrations of Henry Pemberton’s 1728 View of
Newton’s Philosophy, a popular account of Newton’s theories.
Pine not only illustrated this volume, but also subscribed
to it, together with his fellow artists and Freemasons,
Highmore and Thornhill.
Thornhill’s patronage again proved important for Pine
in 1725 when he obtained an important commission for both
Highmore and Pine to produce illustrations of a procession
of the Order of the Bath.
As Pine worked increasingly closely with the European
artists who gathered at Old Slaughter’s and elsewhere, he
developed more ambitious projects. Particularly important
was the influence of Hubert François Gravelot, who arrived
in London to assist with the illustrations for a huge encyclopaedia
of religious ceremonies begun by Bernard Picart.
Pine collaborated with Gravelot on his most demanding
undertaking to date, a series of engravings of 16th century
tapestries in the House of Lords depicting the defeat of the
Spanish Armada. These sumptuous works were described
by Horace Walpole as ‘ornaments to a princely library’.
Facsimile by John Pine of illuminated initials from the
charter granted by Henry VI to Eton College in 1440.
Illustration, designed and engraved by Pine, from Edward
Ward's book of comic poems about marriage, Nuptial Dialogues
and Debates, published in 1722. Note the young Pine's clumsy
draughtsmanship when working from his own drawing,
suggesting that he probably engraved somebody else's
design for the frontispiece of the Book of Constitutions.
University of Sheffield, above
Library and Museum of Freemasonry, below