Engraving of 'Robert Burns, Depute Master, Tarbolton Lodge Kilwinning St James No. 135'

Charles Ewart, Engraver; Stewart Watson, Artist 
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Freemasonry was popular throughout Scotland in the late 1700s. On 4 July 1781, a 22 year old Robert Burns entered as an apprentice in the united Tarbolton Lodge and was initiated Mason on 1 October of the same year.

The Masonic ideals of brotherhood and equality especially appealed to Robert. His links to Freemasonry also helped him succeed amongst high society when he later travelled to Edinburgh.

Robert eventually rose to the position of Depute Master, effectively the second-in-charge of the Lodge. He is depicted here wearing a jewel around his neck – a symbol of his status as Depute Master, and holding a maul which is used to bring meetings to order.

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