The Mural In The EAST
Freemasonry, shrouded in myth and mystery is perhaps one of the most esoteric societies to ever exist in the natural world. The captivating Grand Masonic Mural rising high in the east of our great lodge is no exception to this esoteric phenomena. In this edition of Digital Parchment we intend to shed some light on one of the most prevalent marvels of St. Petersburg Lodge 139. We’ll take you on an enlightening journey to the East by explaining the meaning of our mural and revealing the identity of the artist behind this captivating work as we dive deep into the history of one of the great masterpieces which makes St. Pete Lodge 139 so special to all of us.
The artist, John William Weston, was born in Manchester, England, July 31, 1868. He was an accomplished musician as well as an artist, having served the Lodge as organist for many years. Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in Bayonne Lodge No. 99, Bayonne, N. J. (1905) he demitted to our lodge in December, 1926.
The Masterpiece Mural In The EAST
Brother Weston’s object in painting the Mural was to cover what he considered an unsightly spot behind the Worshipful Master’s chair and that it might be of interest to the Craft. The pilasters and frieze of the design are on plasterboard and central panel is on canvas stretched on a frame. It took eight months to paint it. The scene is not, strictly speaking, a Masonic subject although many symbols are introduced that are mentioned in the work of the Craft. It was unveiled July 11, 1933. Charles W. Major, Sr. was Worshipful Master that year.
Brother Weston’s Description and Address To The Craft Upon The Mural’s Unveiling
I have given a presentation of an ancient Grecian palace court yard. The central group of figures represents the members of the household, while the other female figures are slaves of the palace going about their duties, in this case, that of fetching water; the male figure in the foreground is the Poet Musician. The details introduced in the central panel are the Crown symbolizing the power of the Worshipful Master, then the Moon, Beehive Columns, tessellated pavement, Sheaf of Wheat, Scythe, Shipping, etc. The pilasters have ornamentation symbolizing the wages of the Craft: corn wine and oil. The frieze along the top represents the decoration on the pillars at the entrance to King Solomon’s Temple, which were network, lillywork and pomegranates, with a medallion containing the ALL SEEING EYE, which incidentally is a copy of my own eye painted from its reflection·in a mirror, so beware!! I’ve got my eye on you.
I don’t know if I can say or ought to say more at this time, except to express the wish that the mural may be a pleasure to you for some time, and that your appreciation of it may balance the labor of love that went into the making of it. There is a mighty big difference between a commission to do a thing and one performed of your own free will and accord. So that, Brethren, I am hoping to carry away from here tonight a memory that will brighten the days the future has in store for me and keep me Masonically level, square and plumb.
Brother Weston demitted from our lodge December 7, 1937. His last known address was Savannah, Georgia. To our best knowledge, he has been called to the Grand Lodge above. Tho being dead, HE YET SPEAKETH.