Lock, Iron, copper alloy bells, French


15th century
Iron, copper alloy bells
Overall (opened): 8 15/16 x 14 7/8 x 1 in. (22.7 x 37.8 x 2.5 cm)
Overall (closed): 8 15/16 x 7 3/8 x 2 3/16 in. (22.7 x 18.7 x 5.6 cm)
top attachment flange: 3 3/8 x 2 5/8 x 3/8 in. (8.6 x 6.6 x 0.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.362a, b
Not on view
The decoration of Gothic iron locks and keys was often elaborate and of the highest standard of workmanship. The motifs were frequently drawn from Gothic architecture, reproducing on a miniature scale complicated tracery patterns and even tiny statuettes. A number of these tiny locks were compound, with some of the mechanisms concealed from view, and required two or even three keys used in sequence to open them. It has been suggested that the greatly expanded use of locks on doors, or coffrets and other types of storage chests was a result of the increasing urbanization of life and the new emphasis on material wealth and private ownership which developed in the late Middle Ages.
#3165. Lock
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Frédéric Spitzer, Paris (sold 1893); [ Charles Stein, Paris (from 1893)]; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (until 1917)
La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité, Moyen-Age, Renaissance. Vol. I. Mâcon: Imprimerie Protat Frères, 1890–1891. no. Serrures 1, p. 313.

Spitzer, Frédéric, ed. La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité -- Moyen-Age -- Renaissance. Vol. 2. Paris: Maison Quantin, 1890–1893. no. Serrurerie 1, p. 170, pl. I.

Catalogue des objets d'art et de haute curiosité: antiques, du moyen-âge & de la renaissance: composant l'importante et précieuse Collection Spitzer. Vol. 1. Paris: Chevallier and Mannheim, April 17–June 16, 1893. no. 874, p. 147, pl. XXVI.

Hoffeld, Jeffrey M. "The Art of the Medieval Blacksmith." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28. no. 4 (December 1969). pp. 164-167.

Deuchler, Florens. "The Cloisters: Ein Museum für mittelalterliche Kunst in New York." Du 32, no. 2 (1972). pp. 130–31.

Europe in Torment, 1450–1550. Providence: Brown University, 1974. no. 67, pp. 144–45.