Professionally framed composite or montage of four photos under glass showing the same person at different periods in his life from about age 21 up into his fifties and possibly beyond (see all Photos). The four photos show the same man in different settings or associations including youthful adulthood (see Photo 3), full regalia of freemasonry (see Photos 1, 4 ,5), with his extended family (see Photo 6), and finally with possibly his youngest daughter where the gentleman now has taken on a Mark Twain-looking persona (see Photos 7 and 8). The earliest photograph shows the man in a white dress shirt with formal tie and suit jacket at around the time he reached adulthood (see Photo 3). The man’s tie is held by a prominent and large round headed stick pin that contains a diamond mounted in the center. This same stick pin remains visible in the other photos of the man that complete the photo set (stick pin can be seen in Photos 3, 5, and 8). This earliest photograph of the man was probably taken in the 1880s, but then altered and colorized much later possibly to honor his life at his final memorial service (simply a speculative guess on my part). Colorization of black & white photographs was commonly practiced back in the late 1800s and early 1900s by adding translucent color washes by hand long before color print photography had been invented.
The identity of this man and his family is unknown. The framed photo set was acquired as shown at an estate sale in Dallas, Texas, a few years back and the sales staff could not provide any facts about its history or the man. One of the photographs displays the man dressed in Freemasonry regalia that likely provide various insights into his position in that secret fraternal order that are currently beyond common knowledge (see Photo 1). He is wearing ceremonial Masonic long cuffs, a Masonic apron and a draped mantle as well as other special Freemasonry accouterments including the diamond stick pin, a second special Masonic pin or Jewel on the left side of his chest that has the compass, square and other Masonic order symbols. The Freemason apron also contains many symbols that likely convey the man’s achievements and status in the Secret Order and the particular lodge to which he belonged. Various Masonic positions at the time of this montage of photos included Chaplain, Tiler (outer Guard), Marshal, Secretary, Treasurer, and then a series of progressive elective positions from Junior Steward, to Senior Steward, and then on through Deacon, Warden and then finally Worshipful Master. Many of these positions also had associated Jewels that designated the rank or position held by the member. The symbolic Jewel worn by the Worshipful master was the Square (right angle measuring device used by builders, stone masons, architects, etc.) whereas the symbolic Jewel worn by the Senior Warden was the Level.
The history of Masonic Lodges and memberships in the United States goes back decades before the American Revolution. This fraternal organization once attracted many of America’s founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin was elected Grand Master of the Free Masons of Pennsylvania in 1734, and even George Washington once joined its ranks. A history of the society’s branches, Grand Lodges and related milestones, however is well beyond this listing. However, if you are looking for an unusual gift or piece of memorabilia that carries with it a glimpse of one aspect of America’s past as it pays homage to one man’s life through photographs, then this framed photo montage might be of interest to you. The photographs contain many clues to the identity of the main character of the montage, and possibly even the identity of the lodge to which the man belonged may be among the small details of his official dress and regalia. Consequently, this framed collection of photos may be a perfect gift for the person who studies, collects, or simply enjoys unusual memorabilia of once common expressions of past American culture. This framed montage may be displayed at home or in an office, retail business, or other location where similar artifacts and genre materials are also displayed. And of course, this framed remembrance of one person’s fraternal order and family achievements also comes with a full satisfaction guarantee or you may return it post marked by 14 days for a refund as long as it is undamaged (see my return policy below for full details).
SIZE & CONDITION: The frame measures a maximum 12 3/16 inches by 13 13/16 inches and is about 1/2 inches deep. It appears to be made of wood, possibly ebony given how it is stained black (hardwood rays or internal structure appear under magnification). There is thick white foam board used for matting that has a black paper surface. The matting is professionally cut and the exposed white foam board provides added accent around each photograph (see Photos 2 and 6 for the effect). The back of the frame is sealed with tape and the work is again professional. None of the backing has been opened, compromised or removed (see Photo 9). The cover glass is clean and not scratched. All of the photos are clean and may be photographic copies taken of the originals in order to compose the montage. The matting, backing, photographs and other materials are clean and have not water damage or foxing. There is also no trace of tobacco smoke or soot on the item. There is a nylon string attached to the back so that the frame is immediately ready for hanging upon receipt.
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $11.60 for well packed USPS Priority shipping and this is an estimated savings of $1 to $4 since insurance and tracking are also INCLUDED in this amount. The final shipping weight will be about 3 lbs and require an oversize box. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland since we strive to help reduce insured postage costs for everyone no matter where they live. We ask the International customer to send us their confirmed address for an email quote covering several International shipping options to your location. Please note that International import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes when your country allows such petitions for items over 100 years old. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with their purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of original receipt for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
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