Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library | Fall 2014  


tracing boards and aprons for Mason-
ic clients, the artist who painted the 
board for Green may have employed 
a printed Masonic chart as a model 
for his work.  
 The exhibition also examines   
the many ornamental painters—both 
amateur and professional—who drew 
on their talents to create colorful 
aprons, illustrations and designs for 
Masonic clients. Among the striking 
examples that will be on view is a  
decorated bowl by Hugo Possner 
(1859–1937) of Waterbury, Connec-
ticut. As a boy, Possner moved from 
Germany to Connecticut with his 
family. A versatile artist, over his  
career he decorated cars, designed 
murals and painted portraits and still 

Zuller-Moyer Family Record, 1825. Henry Moyer 

(b. 1785). Minden, new York. Museum Purchase, 


bowl, 1906.  Hugo a. Possner (1859-1937), Waterbury, Connecticut. Gift of  

Clark Commandery no. 7, Knights Templar, Waterbury, Connecticut, 92.034a-b.   

Photograph by David bohl.

lifes. The bowl was presented to Frank 
Conley (1840–1910) of Torrington, 
Connecticut. Along the rim of the 
bowl, Possner depicted badges, ban-
ners and insignia associated with  
different Masonic organizations and 
meetings—doubtless all related to 
Conley’s Masonic career. Below, Pos-
sner painted different symbols, scenes 
and coats of arms, most modeled on 
illustrations in Masonic handbooks.
 Over the years, Masons have 
sought to express the pride they felt 
from their association with Freema-
sonry, many by commissioning por-
traits that identified their membership 
in the fraternity. In 1804 Benjamin 
Greenleaf  (1769–1821) painted Aaron 
Bird (1756–1822). A charter member 

of Cumberland Lodge No. 12 in New 
Gloucester, Maine, Bird became a 
Mason before 1803, when members 
of the new lodge first met. For his 
portrait Bird chose to wear, as his 
only ornament, a gold pin bearing 
easily recognized symbols of Free- 
masonry, a square and compasses, 
underscoring the importance Free- 
masonry held for Bird. Bird’s portrait, 
and the many other objects on view  
in “Every Variety of Painting for 
Lodges” will give visitors a glimpse 
into the decorated world of the 1800s 
and the many ways ordinary people—
as artists and as patrons—used art  
to articulate their connection to  

Featuring over fifty different paintings, watercolor sketches  

and illustrated archival material—as well as painted Masonic aprons  

and decorated furniture—this exhibition explores the ways Masons  

have expressed their involvement with the fraternity.