Telephone bid to New York gains an unusual commode
A telephone bid from Freemasons' Hall in London to an auction in New York has led to the purchase of an unusual chest of
drawers with Masonic decoration, circa 1790. Diane Clements, director of the Library & Museum of Freemasonry, made the successful transatlantic bid.
Probably made in eastern France, each drawer has Masonic symbols inlaid in different types of wood, a type of decoration called marquetry.
Each end of the piece has marquetry decoration in geometric shapes and the handles are in the form of a square and compasses and each escutcheon is triangular in shape.
Each handle and the furniture's carcass are marked with the name 'C Hugvet' - probably the maker. In French such furniture is known as a 'commode'.
Diane Clements explained: 'It is an unusual piece of furniture and unlike anything else we have. We felt the complications of bidding in New York and then having to ship the commode back worthwhile.
'It is a very attractive piece of furniture and was probably used to store regalia. Its size means that it might well have been a piece of furniture
in a normal domestic household.' The chest is now on display in the Library and Museum.
Exploring U.S Masonry
Diane Clements, director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, took part in the annual meeting of the Masonic Libraries and Museums Association (MLMA) in Chicago in October.
The meeting included presentations on book conservation, use of the internet and a talk about
the restoration of the Auditorium Building,
Chicago. Built by Adler and Sullivan, it is one of
the ten most important in the US architecturally, and once included a Masonic temple.
Diane was also able to visit the Grand Lodges of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and the National Heritage Museum at Lexington, Massachusetts, where a new Masonic exhibition opened in the summer.
She commented: 'The Masonic temple
in Philadelphia is an extraordinary building. There are regular tours, so if you are ever in the city, I definitely recommend a visit.
'The exhibition at Lexington is an ambitious project to set Freemasonry in the US in a larger social and cultural context and is well worth seeing.'
VC's regalia donated
The Library and Museum has received a donation of regalia belonging to former submariner
Tommy Gould VC, which is currently on display.
Gould, who died aged 86 in 200 I, was the only Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross in the Second World War. He received it, together with a colleague - Lieutenant Peter Roberts - for his
actions in removing two large bombs from the casing of their submarine, HMS Thrasher, off the coast of Crete in 1942.
In civilian life he worked for General Universal Stores for some years, but maintained his naval interests through the Sea Cadets and Royal Naval Reserve. He was the first chairman of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association. His VC was sold for £40,000 at
Sotheby's in October 1987 and is held by the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen.
Gould was initiated in October 1944 in Lord Charles Beresford Lodge No. 2404, passed in
July 1945 and raised in January 1946. He joined Lodge of Aspiration No. 6086 in 1947 and Royal Naval Lodge No. 59 in 1991. He was also active in the Royal Arch and Royal Ark Mariners and was appointed Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in the Mark Province of Bedfordshire in 1992.
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