Tag Archives: Masonic Collectables

What is this? Another Masonic Curio by Mike Lawrence

The item looks like it could be from French PoW’s during the Napoleonic period! What do you think?

The dimensions are:

H 70 mm
W 100 mm
D 70 mm

Which makes it quite small.

Can anybody help please?

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Masonic Collectables – Ceramic Jugs – by Mike Lawrence

Masonic ceramics, although generally only seen in Museums, are more common than one would imagine, but the majority are generally confined to private collections particularly as the interest for all things Masonic has grown rapidly over the last fifty years.

With images of temples and pillars, devices such as the square and compass, all-seeing eye, radiant delta, etc., and rhymes, generally from the ‘Enter’d Apprentice’ song with many variations, their origins and purpose are unmistakable, and the only mystery is to establish if they were produced for private or lodge use.

Masonic designs were developed on pottery almost as soon as the transfer process of applying decoration to ceramics was perfected. This improvement in technique was accomplished at Worcester pottery, England, about 1756, almost forty years after the founding of the first Grand Lodge in London

Below are a few examples of Masonic decorated jugs, kindly supplied a collector.


Liverpool Jug early 1800’s and has the verse;

“The World is in Pain, Our Secrets to gain, But still let them wonder & gaze on

For they ne’er can divine, The WORD nor the SIGN, Of a Free & an Accepted Mason”

Also front facing has the words;


The spelling of METEIRALS is as per the jug.

Height 28cm (11”) Width spout to handle 27cm (10 ½”)


Sunderland Lustre Jug, mid 1800’s and has the verse:

“The World Illusive

The world is all a fleeting show, For man’s illusion given; The smile of joy, the tears of  woe, Deceitful shine, deceitful flow, – There’s nothing true but Heaven.”

Poem by Thomas Moore 1779 – 1852

Depicting KS Temple on two sides with the verse on front with the initials G.J.M. – possibly to whom it was presented.

Height 180cm (7”) Width 250cm (10”)


This unusual jug has a lid and thought to be early to mid-1800’s, no factory mark, but possibly Liverpool, and has the verse:

“The World is in Pain, Our Secrets to gain, But still let them wonder & gaze on For they ne’er can divine The WORD nor the SIGN Of a Free & an Accepted Mason”

Height 25cm (10”) Width spout to handle 23cm (9”)


Creamware Jug, not sure of the age with unknown image on one side and what appears to be the Holy Royal Arch Triangle with irradiating sun and the images of the four cardinal virtues. On the front has the wording;

“The World is in Pain Our Secrets to gain But still let them wonder & gaze on For they ne’er can divine The WORD nor the SIGN Of a Free & an Accepted Mason”

Height 18cm (7”) Width spout to handle 23cm (9”)


Possibly Liverpool and possibly late 18th century owing to verse on the side using ‘f’ for ‘s’. The verse reads:

“The LIGHT Shineth in darknefs, and the Darknefs Comprehendeth in not”

The central symbology are the signs of the Zodiac, occasionally associated with Freemasonry, there are also more esoteric images to be seen.

Height 18cm (7”) Width spout to handle 17cm (6 ¾ “)


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Jewels made by French Prisoners of War Presented by Mike Lawrence

Napoleonic Wars (1793 – 1815)

The existence of Masonic activity in POW camps is well documented. (Please see links at the end of the article)

However there is a lack of documentary evidence linking specific Masonic items to individual makers, in particular camps,  so the possibility remains of items being made at a later date or elsewhere.

The PoW’s produced items from the scrap materials found around them and would sell them to pay for food and clothing.

Materials used included bone, straw, human hair, paper and wood.

French POW's

The Jewel on the left, albeit smaller (H 40mm D 32 mm) only has one column, the clasp is not rounded and the general finish is what one might expect from the available materials and conditions of internment.

The Jewel on the right (H 52mm D 40 mm) appears to be almost perfect in design – would one expect it to be so well finished in comparison to the other Jewel? Or do the two Jewels demonstrate the difference in materials available from one POW camp to another and / or the difference in skills of the craftsman?

According to correspondence my friend received from the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Great Queen Street, it is likely the prisoners had certificates, aprons or even book frontispieces and copied elements of these which would lead to elements of similarity in design.

The number of French soldiers and sailors brought to England as Prisoner of War was significant and estimated to be in the region of 120,000.


From records held at the Library and Museum, Great Queen Street.

‘In some cases the quality of workmanship was such that it threatened the livelihood of the craftsmen in the towns. This happened in the case of the lace makers and the trade in lace by prisoners was banned as a result’.

For further information on the subject please follow the links below:





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Did you find where the little fellow was hiding? By Mike Lawrence



You’ll find the little fellow at the bottom of a Creamware tankard!

This particular Creamware tankard is thought to date about 1790 – 1800.

Height 14cm (five and a half inches)
Width 11cm (4”)

There is no factory mark.

As you probably know the frog was put inside the tankard to startle the
person drinking from it, which I would imagine would be the Initiate. Such was the practice in 18th century Freemasonry.

The verse on the front is well known and features on a number of ceramics:

The World is in pain
our Secrets to gain
but still let them wonder & gaze on
they never can divine
neither word nor the sign
of a Free and accepted

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