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  • THE LADY FREEMASON AT FONSIE MEALY’S SUMMER SALE

    This early mezzotint portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth (1695-1775) in full masonic robes comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s summer auction in Castlecomer on July 23.  Born Elizabeth St. Leger and famous in her time as The Lady Freemason she was the first recorded woman to be initiated into Freemasonry.  Daughter of the 1st Viscount Doneraile she witnessed a meeting of the freemasons in her fathers house at Doneraile Court.  Now newly opened to the public after refurbishment by the OPW, Doneraile Court in Co. Cork was also refurbished in the late 18th century and loose bricks in a wall of the room where the masons met enabled the young Elizabeth to see what was going on.  The portrait was published in 1811 by S. Kennedy of Patrick St, Cork and sold by Bro. R. Spencer, Masonic Booksellers, London. It is in a Hogarth type frame with a printed “Biographical Memoir of The Hon. Mrs. Aldworth of Newmarket, Co. Cork” framed on the back.  Mrs. Aldworth was buried in the old St. Fin Barres Cathredal in Cork and there is a plaque near her remains in the present cathedral.  The print is estimated at 300-500.

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