Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Portraits, Historical, American, Presidents, George Washington, Masonic, Antique Lithograph Print, 1855


J. Shobe (after)
George Washington] Entered Apprentice, Plate 1
John Sherer, Cincinnati, Ohio: 1855
Klauprech & Menzel Lith., Cincinnati, Ohio (lithographers)
Signed in the matrix lower center: J. Shobe
19.75 x 25.75 inches, image
22 x 28 inches, overall

Portrait print commemorating George Washington as a Freemason, produced by John Sherer, a leading publisher of Masonic books and prints. In the center, Washington stands on a tiled floor beneath an arch hung with a Masonic “G” and supported by six columns. He wears a Masonic apron and a ceremonial collar and holds a mallet. The fronts of the columns bear centered oval portraits of the Marquis de Lafayette, a Revolutionary War hero, and Dr. Joseph Warren, identified on the frame as M.W. Grand Master for the Continent of America 1772. The left and right column pediments read “Born Feb. 22 A.D. 1732” and “Died Dec. 14 A.D. 1799” respectively. On the front of the base supporting the floor is written “Made a Mason 1752. Commander of the American Army, 1775. President of the United States, 1789. “The central image of Washington is surrounded by numerous other symbols and implements of Freemasonry labeled according to the three levels of initiation (Sec. 1st, Sec. 2nd, and Sec. 3d).   Inasmuch as the print is labeled “Plate 1,” presumably this was the first of a set the other prints likely a succession of instructions and rituals from initiation to progressing and practicing as a mason. Apparently it is exceedingly rare; we were unable to locate any other examples.

Product description continues below.


Freemasonry is a self-improvement volunteer association that teaches moral, intellectual, and spiritual lessons through three initiation ceremonies, and serves as a fraternal organization. Washington attained the first degree of Entered Apprentice in 1752 in the Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the age of 20 and progressed through the next two degrees, attaining attained the third degree of Master Mason in 1753. The George Washington Masonic National Memorial notes that Washington attended Masonic celebrations and religious observances during the War for Independence and took his oath of office at his first presidential inauguration on a Bible from St. John’s Lodge in New York. “In retirement he became charter Master of the Alexandria Lodge No. 22, sat for a portrait in his Masonic regalia, and in death, was buried with Masonic honors.”

John Sherer was a lithographer and publisher based in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1847 to at least 1859. In 1847, he was in a partnership as Sherer & Rowse. From 1849 on he was in business under his own name or as Sherer Publications. Sherer’s specialty became Masonic-themed prints but he also sold regalia and other supplies to lodges. He became well-known for his Masonic Carpet, a set of charts mounted on muslin or canvas to be hung in Masonic lodges. They showed the symbols and emblems associated with different lessons presented to aspiring Masons and were referred to during lectures to members. The visual representations of Masonic symbols were intended to serve as reminders of these lessons. He also published the books Sherer’s Gems of Masonry (1859), The Masonic Ladder (1866) and Sherer’s Masonic Monitor (1867). The images used in Sherer’s publications later were adapted to lecture slides and videos that are still in use in Masonic lodges today.

Klauprech & Menzel was a lithographic firm in Cincinnati from 1840 to 1859. The senior partner, Emil Klauprech, was editor of the Cincinnati German Republican. Adolphus Menzel was the chief lithographer.

Full publication information: “Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1855, by John Sherer in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Ohio. Klauprech & Menzel, Lith. Cin. O.”

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and restored, including closing a few short marginal tears , with the usual overall remaining light toning, wear, handling.


“Education Corner: Sherer Publications and M.C. Lilley & Co. Fraternal Materials.” Grand Lodge of Ohio. 2021. (20 July 2021).

“George Washington, The Mason.” The George Washington Masonic National Memorial. 2021. (20 July 2021).

Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. pp. 373 and 575.

“Masonic Associations.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 2021. (20 July 2021).

“The Master’s Carpet.” Phoenix Masonry. 1999-2019. (20 July 2021).

Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. p. 366.

Additional information


19th Century