John W. Boettjer, 33, G.C.
Managing Editor, Scottish Rite Journal
Using a poetic/realistic style, a new Masonic painting
illustrates the operative origins of our Craft while celebrating Freemasonry
Tools of the Craft is an original oil painting by Bro. Robert H. White, 32, a noted contemporary artist who specializes in still-life depictions in the tradition of post-Renaissance Flemish and Italian masters. His highly realistic studies go beyond surface reality and infuse everyday objects with an evocative symbolic significance.
Following on the success of his painting “Time for Lodge,” commissioned by Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33, to celebrate the 1989 Biennial Session of The Supreme Council, “Tools of the Craft” honors the 1997 Biennial Session. In addition, funds generated by the distribution of signed, limited print edition of this painting will benefit the Scottish Rite Foundation, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc.
The original painting is on display in the House of the Temple along with 38 other paintings by Bro. White which form the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia. Like “Tools of the Craft,” these paintings of the regalia of the Degrees accent the meaning of Scottish Rite Freemasonry while rendering in exacting detail our Order’s unique caps, jewels, cordons, and other ritual paraphernalia.
“Tools of the Craft” depicts an operative mason’s lodge, that is, his workshop. On its walls are templates of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. A Corinthian capital emerges from the rough ashlar on the workman’s bench, and various operative tools related to Masonic symbols are placed ready for the carver’s hand. These include a square, stonemason’s compasses, 24-inch gauge, plumb, level, chisel, mallet, pick, and trowel.
Interestingly, many of the working tools pictured have specific Masonic histories. The trowel is the actual instrument used to seal the tomb of Brother and President George Washington. The plumb was used in the construction of the magnificent Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, home of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The several other operative instruments depicted are modeled after craftsmen’s tools loaned, for use in creating this painting, from the Washington National Cathedral (Protestant Episcopal) in our nation’s capital and actually used to complete the construction of this great “House of Prayer for All People.”
In 1947, The Supreme Council, 33, Mother Council of the World, presented to the Washington Cathedral the monumental statue of George Washington which now graces the cathedral’s north transept. Carved into the transept’s stone walls are representations of the Holy Bible, Freemasonry’s Square and Compasses, Washington’s Past Master’s Jewel, and the mallet used in setting the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in 1793 and the Washington National Cathedral itself in 1907.
Valued by collectors and galleries alike, Brother White’s paintings are particularly appreciated by Freemasons since, in addition to their beauty and realism which can be enjoyed by all, there is a special Craft resonance to his Masonic work that speaks directly to the soul of our Order and the heart of every Freemason.
Prints of “Tools of the Craft” in a limited edition signed and numbered by the artist (overall size 22" X 33") may be obtained starting August 1997 for a contribution of $100 per print, check payable to The Scottish Rite Foundation, S.J., USA, to : The Supreme Council, 1733 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009–3103.