Freemasonry and the French Revolution: Chairs with Masonic Symbolism

At the time when the Bastille prison was stormed by the Paris mob on 14 July 1789, English freemasonry was approaching a peak of respectability and prestige. The following year, the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, was elected Grand Master, having become a freemason in 1787. The Grand Lodge commissioned a ceremonial throne and two warden’s chairs, replete with Masonic symbolism, to be used in its new Freemasons’ Hall in central London. The London cabinet maker Robert Kennett charged £157 10s and took three months to complete the set in gilded limewood./—/

Over the past 3 years, this enormous (3.25 metre) ornate throne, together with the pair of wardens’ chairs, has been restored to its former glory by W. Thomas Restorations Limited at a cost of £100,000. Last used in 1992 and only brought out for very important ceremonial occasions, the complete set will be on display in the exhibition Freemasonry and the French Revolution currently at the Library and Museum. The chairs are on display until Friday 18 September 2009 only; the exhibition runs to 18th December 2009.

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For further details about the exhibition,

please see events page.