Tracing boards are used by Freemasons in their lodge meetings as visual aids in their ceremonies, and there is usually a tracing board for each of the three ceremonies. This example is painted on canvas, although they can also be painted or drawn on wood, cloth or paper, or made out of stone. The three columns are the classical orders of architecture: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, which represent the Master, or Ruler, of the lodge and his two deputies, or wardens. The letter and the symbol at the base of the columns represent their attributes and emblems: the Master’s wisdom and set square, the Senior Warden’s strength and level and the Junior Warden’s beauty and plumb rule. Freemasons make symbolic use of stonemasons’ tools in their ceremonies and they are often referred to as ‘working tools’. This tracing board is one of a set of three that belong to the Royal Naval Lodge No.59, which are currently on loan to the Library and Museum of Freemasonry.
Where to see this painting?
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection