Lasting Memorials: "I shall still live in the hearts and affections of my Brethren.”

Knights Templar Member

 

Knights Templar Member, ca. 1893

Abraham Edmonds (b. ca. 1851)

New York, New York

Gift of Walter A. Kmiec, 80.58

Photograph by David Bohl

 

The unidentified subject of this portrait wears regalia associated with the Knights Templar. In addition, jewels and badges related to other Masonic groups, such as the Shrine and the Scottish Rite, ornament his coat. Clearly, the subject of this work took pride in his involvement with Freemasonry. Although the history of this work is not known, its size and carefully portrayed details suggest the painting may have been commissioned to hang in a Masonic building.    

Starting in the mid-1800s, Masons became increasingly interested in memorializing their leaders—both local and national—with portraits. As part of this trend, many lodges commissioned or purchased portraits of George Washington (1732-1799)--a Mason and a much-revered leader—with the goal of presenting this national hero as a positive example to be held, as one donor described, “in constant remembrance.” Many lodges also began to commission portraits of lodge founders, past masters, or longtime members. Lodges undertook these commissions to provide inspiration for current members and to acknowledge past members’ contributions. Their efforts were well appreciated. In 1875, a founding member of St. Paul’s Lodge of Boston, in thanking his brothers for the honor of displaying his portrait reflected, “what a happy thought, that when I shall be called upon to bid farewell to these earthly scenes…I shall still live in the hearts and affections of my Brethren.”    

 

Lasting Memorials: "I shall still live in the hearts and affections of my Brethren.”