William Preston (1742–1818) was a printer and Masonic author, who in 1772 published a book called 'Illustrations on Masonry', which highlighted the philosophical nature of Freemasonry through a series of lectures. The book was reprinted several times throughout the nineteenth century and helped to organise Freemasonry in the United States. In 1777 Preston was asked to revise the constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England, one of two governing bodies of Freemasonry in England in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In 1779 an argument over this work led Preston to form a short-lived breakaway grand lodge with other members of the Lodge of Antiquity, now No.2, one of the oldest Masonic lodges in England. This painting is on loan from the Lodge of Antiquity No.2.
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
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