Charleston Silver Masonic Emblem probably England, circa 1770s, pierced silver backed with red velvet with wooden backing, the large oval medallion with urn, scroll and flower decoration centering The Eye of Providence (Masonic device), the backboard inscribed "Masonic Seal of John Rutledge First Governor of SC Date 1770", 8-1/2 in.. Condition: surface tarnish, minor dents and some distress at edges, wear to velvet backing, wooden backing appears to be original and undisturbed. Notes: Before the Declaration of Independence was signed, South Carolina adopted a state constitution drafted by the provincial congress, becoming the first independent government in the colonies. John Rutledge (1739-1800) of Charleston, after chairing the committee that framed the South Carolina Constitution, was elected the first president by the state's general assembly. John and his brother Edward had both been delegates to the Continental Congress and John was also a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. John Rutledge was a Mason, and likely a member of Lodge 190 in Charleston. While the circumstances surrounding the commissioning or purchasing of this impressive emblem are unknown, Rutledge may have acquired it though the silversmith Thomas Harper. Harper was a silversmith and jeweler working in Charleston from 1773-1782. A loyalist, he left for England during the war. A Thomas Harper, likely the same who worked in Charleston, went on to become known for crafting silver and gold Masonic emblems or "Jewels" in England. Harper became an important Mason in England, rising through the ranks from Junior Grand Warden in 1785 to Deputy Grand Master (1801-1813). A research Lodge was formed and named after him, dedicated to original research in the field of Masonic jewels. While the connection between Rutledge and Harper remains elusive, this remarkable object ranks among the most elaborate and important works of Masonic silver surviving from 18th century America.. Provenance: Descended to the current owner from the Middleton & Rutledge Families, Hampton Plantation, South Carolina; Provenance: This Masonic Emblem descended in the family of John Rutledge via his brother Edward. (Hampton Plantation Property). John Rutledge 1739-1800, Brother Edward Rutledge 1749-1800; Edward Rutledge married Henrietta Middleton, sister of Arthur Middleton
And had son Henry Middleton Rutledge 1775-1844; Henry Middleton Rutledge married Septima Sexta Middleton, they moved to Nashville, TN and had son Henry Adolphus Rutledge and a daughter Henrietta Middleton Rutledge; Henrietta Middleton Rutledge married Frederick Rutledge and had son Henry Middleton Rutledge II. Henry Middleton Rutledge II married Margaret Hamilton Seabrook and they had a son named Archibald Hamilton Rutledge. Archibald Hamilton Rutledge married Florence Hart, they had a son Archibald Hamilton Rutledge Jr. Arthur Rutledge Jr. married Eleanor Stevenson. Eleanor Stevenson is the aunt of the consignor.
surface tarnish, minor dents and some distress at edges, wear to velvet backing, wooden backing appears to be original and undisturbed