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In this portrait the Freemason James Asperne (1737–1820) is wearing the distinctive red apron of a grand steward. In the eighteenth century, grand stewards were appointed to organise a feast for the Grand Lodge of England, one of two governing bodies of Freemasonry at this time, which they were required to pay for themselves. They still operate today, assisting with the meeting and dining arrangements of the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body of Freemasonry in England and Wales. Asperne is also wearing the collar of a master, or ruler, of a lodge, whose emblem is the set square. He was appointed Grand Steward in 1813. Later that same year the two grand lodges operating in England and Wales came together to form the United Grand Lodge of England.
James Asperne (1737–1820)
oil on canvas
H 120 x W 94.5 cm
purchased at Caelt Gallery by the United Grand Lodge of England, 1970
JAMES ASPERNE (1757-1820) Bookseller. Past Master, St. Peter's Lodge, No. 29, 1795, Honorary Member, Lodge of Antiquity, No. 1 (now No. 2) 1795. Grand Steward, 1813. By Samuel Drummond, A.R.A., 1813'