ISSUE 10, July 2004
John Pine: A sociable craftsman
Jumping for Joy: Skydiving for charity
Quarterly Communication: Speeches of: the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Address of the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Royal Arch: Cheshire gives a lead
  Walking with the greats: Bath Masonic Hall
Motoring in style: Classic Vehicle Club
Masonic education: A daily advancement and Events for your diary
Travel: Portugal
Library & Museum of Freemasonry
International: A warm welcome in Malta
Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice
Public relations: Sheffield; Dorset; Chelsea Flower Show; Freemasons' Hall
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Library & Museum of Freemasonry

(above) The solid silver Burdett Cask
     The Library and Museum has recently acquired a number of interesting objects. The Burdett Casket, a presentation casket with important Masonic connections, was purchased jointly with the Provincial Lodge of Mark Masons of Middlesex from a private European collector, and is now on display at the Library and Museum.
     The casket is made of solid silver and is approximately eight inches long, five inches wide and five and a half inches deep. A column of ivory topped by a globe is at each corner.
     The casket is finely chased on each side around a central enamel decoration including the coats of arms of the Royal Arch and the Mark. The lid is finely decorated with leaves and more enamels – this time the coats of arms of Middlesex and Surrey – and at the top is the figure of charity with a child at her feet.
     The lid opens with a small triangular key to reveal a presentation scroll. The casket was made by Mappin and Webb and has its own specially designed leather case
     The casket was presented to Sir Francis Burdett on 19th February 1892 to mark his 21 years as Provincial Grand Master of Mark Masons in the (then combined) Province of Middlesex and Surrey.
     Burdett was born in 1813 and spent his early years in the army in India, where he was initiated into the 13th Dragoons Lodge No 400, meeting under the Irish Constitution.
     On his return from India in 1849 he began to take a more active part in Freemasonry and became Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. In 1869 he was appointed a Past Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge when the Grand Lodge of Ireland selected him as their representative.
     He was chosen to be the first Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex in the same year and was installed in 1870, having first been installed as Master of Burdett Lodge No 1293.
     In 1871 Burdett became Provincial Grand Master of Mark Masons in the (then combined) Province of Middlesex and Surrey and also Grand Superintendent of Royal Arch masonry in Middlesex. He held these offices up to his death on 31st May 1892, three months after the casket was presented.
     Diane Clements, director of the Library and Museum, was amazed when she first saw the casket. “I had only seen black and white images of the casket, and so when I first saw it ‘in the flesh’ I was absolutely stunned. It is a fantastic addition to the collection here at Freemasons’ Hall as an important piece of Masonic history.
     “I am very grateful to the Mark Province of Middlesex for their financial support and to other Middlesex Masons for their help – including with French translation!
     “Thanks are also due to Terry Iles, a member of Jewels of the Craft, who first alerted me that the casket might be available. He was enormously helpful in putting me in touch with the right people.”

The Chinese
porcelain Bowl

The ‘Releif’ seal

Library & Museum of Freemasonry

Chinese porcelain bowl
Although the Library and Museum already has an extensive collection of Chinese export porcelain bowls, occasionally a version comes to light which is different.
     Recently the Library and Museum purchased a punch bowl (about eleven and a half inches in diameter) decorated with the coat of arms of the Premier or Moderns Grand Lodge, taken from its seal.
     There are a number of examples of bowls with the Antients coat of arms, but fewer for the Moderns. The Library and Museum also possesses the original steel seal of the Premier Grand Lodge, and this is now on show alongside the bowl.
     The border decoration of the bowl dates it to around 1795. No records are yet known which shed light on who might have commissioned the bowl (which would have been made to order) and in what circumstances.
     As Diane Clements points out, the article by the former Librarian and Curator, T. O. Haunch, in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (Volume 82, 1969) on English Craft Certificates provides some additional information. ‘Releif Seal’
     The seal is the variation known as the Releif seal (from the misspelling of ‘relief’ shown on it). The obsolete spelling “releif” is used consistently in the minutes of Grand Lodge between April 1737 and October 1757, during which period the minutes are all written in the same hand.
     Only this version of the seal is used in Premier Grand Lodge certificates, and it is probably from a certificate that the image was copied by Chinese decorators.
     The steel seal preserved in the Library and Museum is inscribed on the reverse “I Cartwright London Sculp”. A James Cartwright, described as an “Ingraver” is recorded as a member of Lodge No. 197, meeting at the Jack of Newbery, Chiswell Street, London.
     He may be the engraver of the seal (and possibly of some early Grand Lodge certificates), but no further information is known. Lodge No. 197 subsequently ceased meeting and was erased in 1775.