•  Fall 2015 | Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Masonic Punch Bowl Added to the Collection


s the Museum’s current 
lobby exhibition, “Called 
to Refreshment,” makes 
clear, Freemasons often 

socialized as part of their meetings.  
Masonic lodges invested in pitchers, 
platters, bowls and other kinds of 
serving ware for the time when they 
were “called from labor to refresh-
ment.”  Freemasons—then and now 
—also socialized outside of the lodge.  
Using objects decorated with Masonic 
symbols on these occasions let every-
one know that their owner identified 
with Freemasonry and valued his  
association with the group.
 The bowl recently acquired by the 
Museum & Library is almost thirteen 
inches in diameter and shows a total 
of eleven transfer-printed images in 
the bottom and on the inner and outer 
sides. The image inside the bottom of 
the bowl shows two classical figures 
with a series of five architectural   
columns. Several Masonic tools are 
scattered on the ground. A verse reads 
“To heavens high Architect all praise / 
All gratitude be given / Who design’d 
the human soul to raise / By secrets 
sprung from heaven.” This verse   
appeared as early as 1769 in A   
Candid Disquisition of the Principles 
and Practices…of Free and Accepted 
 by Wellins Calcott.
 The decorations on the outside  
alternate between Masonic and non-
Masonic. The Masonic image shows  
a temple with three figures wearing 
their aprons and other Masonic sym-
bols. Another image is American in 
subject with a liberty cap at the top.  
Dating back to ancient Rome, the  
liberty cap was often used as a sym-
bol of freedom during the American 
and French Revolutions. A verse   
below the cap reads “As he tills the 
rich glebe the old peasant shall tell, / 

Museum & Library with the bowl 
suggested that the original owner was 
the Ephraim McFarland who was 
born in Worcester, Massachusetts,  
in 1763 and married in 1782.  
 Further research suggests that   
the bowl’s owner might actually have 
been the Ephraim McFarland who 
lived in Belfast, Maine.  This Ephraim 
was born in 1765 in Boothbay, Maine, 
and died in 1849, also in Maine. This 
Ephraim was a ship captain who sailed 
between Maine and Boston. He both 
owned and commanded several ships.  
His travel to Boston would have   
provided opportunities to join St.  
Andrew’s Lodge and to purchase  
this bowl.

Masonic punch bowl, 1790-1820, England, scottish 

Rite Masonic Museum & library purchase, 2015.029.

While his bosom with Liberty glows. / 
How your Warren expir’d, how Mont-
gomery fell. / And how Washington 
humbled your foes.” These lines come 
from the poem “American Freedom,” 
written by Edward Rushton (1756–
1814) of Liverpool, England.
 The name of the original owner, 
Ephraim McFarland, is printed inside 
the bottom of the bowl. The records 
of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts 
list an Ephraim McFarland as a mem-
ber of Boston’s St. Andrew’s Lodge.  
This man was initiated in January 1801 
and received the second degree in  
December 1801, but his membership 
card does not indicate that he ever 
received the third degree of Master 
Mason. Information given to the  

recent acquiSition