• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2030

    Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Maritime Art and Prints

    25 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 15


    Allegory of the Masonic Virtue of Wisdom

    Price Realised  


    Allegory of the Masonic Virtue of Wisdom
    signed and dated S Jones, 1836, inscribed Wisdom and Strength
    oil on canvas
    40¼ x 48 in.

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    Acquired from a Middletown, Connecticut estate, this painting was probably displayed in a Masonic hall in central Connecticut. Depicting a woman in Neoclassical attire between a pillar and an eagle wearing a pyramid pendant, this painting displays Masonic symbols. Since the Masonic virtues of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are taught to apprentices entering the Freemason's society, it is possible that this painting was created as one of three works to represent these virtues. According to the Masonic ritual guide first published in 1868, new members to the society were instructed that there should be "wisdom to contrive, strength to support and beauty to adorn all great and important undertaking" (Daniel Sickels, General Ahiman Rezon and Freemason's Guide (Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish, MT, 1942) p. 77). While the word Wisdom is clearly indicated on the column, the word Strength is faintly visible under a layer of paint on the tree, probably obscured by the artist as the painting was finished.


    A Middletown, Connecticut estate

    Pre-Lot Text