- Museum number
- Object: The Mystery of Masonry brought to Light by ye Gormagons
Satire on the excesses of certain Freemasons: a procession of masons emerge from a public house headed by elaborately dressed men described as the emperor of China, Confucius and two mandarins; an old woman sits on a ladder balanced on the back of a donkey and a mason, identified as such by his apron and gloves, stretches between the rungs of the ladder to kiss her bare backside; Don Quixote, in full armour and wearing a masonic apron and gloves, holds up his shield behind the donkey; in the foreground, to left, a man playing the bladder and string, in the centre, a dancing monkey with apron and gloves, and, to right, a butcher laughing at the scene while Sancho Panza gasps in surprise. 1724
- Production date
Height: 244 millimetres (slightly cropped and laid down on a larger sheet)
Width: 348 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The print was advertised in the Daily Post, 2 December 1724, as available for 12d from "the Printsellers of London and Westminster, and Wholesale by Mr Holland in Earl-street near the Seven Dials" (quoted in full in Paulson 1989).
The subject derives from a notice mocking the faction of masons led by the Duke of Wharton which was published in the Daily Post on 3 September 1724 by supporters of John Theophilus Desaguilers and James Anderson. The notice announced a meeting of the "Ancient Noble Order of the Gormagons" making coded allusions to Jacobite tendencies in the Wharton faction. On 14 September Aaron Hill had published an essay in the "Plain Dealer" complaining that members of the artisan classes were being admitted to masonry and that dubious rituals were said to be taking place.
Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and one of the mandarins are taken from Coypel's illustrations to Cervantes earlier in the year (for that series, see 1877,0512.658). See Paulson for a fuller discussion of the print and its context.
For later mock masonic processions, see BMSat1494, 2546, and 2548.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number