Burns was never Master of a Lodge but that requires some explanation. In the 18th century it was common for a local dignitary to be made the Master of a Lodge and frequently he was a mere figurehead who may or may not have attended the Lodge. There are instances where the local laird was elected Master even although he was not a Freemason! This was obviously done in the hope that he was be interested enough to seek initiation but it did not always happen! Even such men did become Freemasons their other activities and duties often prevented them from attending the Lodge on a regular basis. This was what a Depute (Scots for Deputy) Master was for - he performed all the functions of the Master even although he did not (as with Burns) hold the title of Master. Burns was therefore Master of his Lodge (now Lodge St James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton, No.135) in every way except name.
This sepia protrait shows Brother Robert Burns in the regalia of Depute Master - as indicated by the collar jewel. The portrait was taken from the famous oil painting: 'Inauguration of Robert Burns as Poet Laureate of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No.2, 1st March 1787' which hangs in the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library, Freemasons' Hall, Edinburgh (colour reproductions of that painting are also available - ed.)
The portrait of Burns in Masonic regalia is printed on heavy paper (image size 10 3/4 inches X 13 1/2 inches) with a generous 4 1/4 inch border (sides), 5 1/4 inch border (top) and 7 1/4 inch border (bottom - including text) to allow for maximum flexibility in framing. Each portrait is supplied in a tube for convenience and costs £10.00 (yes, £10.00) each. To order go to the Grand Lodge online shop by clicking here or on previous links