BORDEAUX. Action de F100. brown, black. No 720. Long vertical fold with two significant edge-tears, repaired. A magnificent share, undated but issued probably in the mid-1870s, in Bordeaux, to fund the construction of a joint meeting-place for all of the six freemasons'lodges in Bordeaux. The primeinterest of the piece is in its design, by François Boucher, created in 1765. Boucher (1703-1770), a protégé of Madame de Pompadour, was a favourite court painter, engraver and decorator, very highly regarded in the highest circles at the time, with a large and versatile production of works of art. However, although Boucher was an engraver, he just created the design, which was engraved the following year by Choffard. Several small alterations were made to the original design, to adapt it to the needs of a share a century later. For one, the royal crown was no longer appropriate, and was replaced by a garland of roses. Also, and much more important, space had to be made for the various texts relating to the share, and the society issuing it. Both the front and the back show Boucher's allegorical designs - a mother with her children, little angels, masonic symbols (doubtless added later), fruit and flowers, symbols of the arts, and very much else. An extremely decorative piece. It was back around 1850 when the six lodges decided that a joint meeting-place was desirable, but is was only in 1876 that this society was formed, to raise the funds and arrange the acquisition/construction of a suitable room. The history of freemasonry in Bordeaux dates back to the 18th century, by the creation in 1732, by three British or Irish sailors, of the first lodge, called l'Anglaise. The members of this first lodge were essentially anglicans. In 1740, La Française, with catholic membership, wasformed. Then followed La Parfaite Harmonie in 1744 and L'Amitié or L'Amitié allemande in 1746. At the end of the 18th century, Bordeaux had more than 3000 masons among 110.000 inhabitants. These lodges were privileged meeting-places for the 'élite bordelaise', and had great liberal influence in the city's commerce, including maritime trade with the Caribbean. Today Bordeaux had 80 lodges, with at least 3000 brothers and sisters. An artistic masterpiece, and certainly one of the very best combinations of "Art & Finance" we know of.
Startprice: € 3000