Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Padlock and key

André Omereler
Southern German
Steel, brass, partially gilded
Overall (.10a): 7 × 5 7/16 × 2 9/16 in. (17.8 × 13.8 × 6.5 cm); Length (assembled .10d, e): 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1957
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 521
Elevating less exalted materials through expertise, celebrated locksmiths in centers like Augsburg took their place beside goldsmiths and armorers. Precision cold-cutting of metal was an art. This padlock boasts a beautifully coordinated mechanism, designed to confound an interloper but work with systematic clarity for those in the know. Disguised by numerous dummy holes, the real keyhole is revealed when one of the shields is turned to the right, releasing two bolts, unlatching a cover inside, and causing a panel to slide up. Possibly a guild showpiece, the lock bears a partially legible inscription giving its date and maker.

[Elizabeth Cleland, 2017]
Inscription: On front of shackle, slightly raised letters on gilt ground: ANDRE OMERELER FERCZIG W MEI HER; on back of shackle, slightly raised on gilt ground: DISES SCHLOS HAD GEMAC...MAISTER; [on top of shackle, slightly raised on gilt ground: W DV DVSTZO FAR GIS DEIH ERNIT VND DIN LECZ END; on underside of shackle: 1 5 3 1
Samuel Yellin , Philadelphia ; [ Franz J. Mela , New York, until 1957; sold to MMA ]
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