Grand Lodge Room of the New Masonic Hall. Chestnut Street, Philadelphia


This 1855 commemorative print shows the ornately decorated grand lodge room on the second floor of the New Masonic Hall, located at 713-721 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The hall was built 1853–55 after the designs of the Philadelphia architectural firm Sloan & Stewart, established in 1853 by architect Samuel Sloan and carpenter John Stewart. Rows of cushioned benches with carved backs line the room, which is adorned with gold vaulting over the turquoise-colored walls and ceiling. Interrupting the seating are two daises with lavish thrones; these are adorned with ornate Gothic-style canopies containing sculpted allegorical female figures. The larger dais dominates the background. A large gilt chandelier hangs over this dais, which contains several Gothic-style chairs, two chests, and sculpture displayed on pedestals and in alcoves. The smaller dais includes a chair and a chest, and is seen on the right in this image. The building was sold circa 1873 following the completion of the new Masonic Temple on North Broad Street and was later destroyed by fire in 1883. The artist of this chromolithograph was Max Rosenthal (1833–1918), a skilled lithographer, engraver, and painter. The printer was Louis N. Rosenthal (born circa 1824), a pioneer chromolithographer who operated the Philadelphia firm Rosenthal’s Lithography with his brothers Max, Morris, and Simon circa 1851–72. Max delineated the majority of the chromolithographs for the firm. Louis and Max were born in Turck, Russian Poland; Louis immigrated to the United States in 1848, and Max circa 1849. The firm produced illuminated book plates, sheet music covers, advertisements, labels, geological and anatomical drawings, portraits, maps, views of buildings, and during the Civil War, a series of camp and battle scenes.

Last updated: January 8, 2018