Label

The fraternal order of the Freemasons is a philosophical society of civic-minded gentlemen who perpetuate their beliefs through allegory, symbols, and the artisan-implements of the guild from which they are derived. From 1782 to 1788, the Alexandria Lodge, No. 39, conducted their meetings in local taverns. Members, such as George Washington, enjoyed refreshments that were served throughout the ceremony and the meal that often followed. Perhaps Washington's libation was once poured from this decanter and served in a matching firing glass. The decanter features the lodge's name on one side and the compass and square - the central symbols of freemasonry's core tenants of reason and faith - on the other.

See also firing glass, M-3881/C.

Description

A:
A rounded cylindrical blown body of colorless glass with sloped shoulders, an elongated neck, and a flanged lip. The interior rim of the neck is roughly ground to hold the stopper in place. The base of the decanter is slightly domed, cresting with the pontil mark which remains unpolished. On the front wall of the decanter's body is the engraving: "Alexandria/ LODGE No 39". On the obverse wall is an engraved compass superimposed over an inverted square.

B:
Ball stopper with a short neck and a ground shank.

Date

c. 1783-1788


Geography


Material/Technique

Glass


Dimensions

Overall (A): 9 13/16 in. x 4 1/2 in. x 4 1/2 in. (24.92 cm x 11.43 cm x 11.43 cm)
Overall (B): 3 in. x 1 1/2 in. x 1 1/2 in. (7.62 cm x 3.81 cm x 3.81 cm)


Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Drury B. Crawley, IV, 1995


Marks

A:
On the front wall of the decanter is the engraving: "Alexandria/ LODGE No 39". On the obverse wall is an engraved compass superimposed over an inverted square.


Object Number

M-3881/A-B


Colors (Beta)


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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