This 17th century antique wrought iron safe is an Armada chest, identifiable due to the mermaid motif on the inside of the lid. The trunk features a large decorative medallion on the front, which also serves as a false keyhole. Two strong handles are on the sides, and a lock and original key on the top. The lock mechanism inside is very intricate and covered by a pierced and incised steel plate that shows stylized mermaids. The mechanism attached to the underside of the lid covers the entire surface, using a meticulous system of gears that activate several bolts with a single turn of the key. The outside is patinated and inside is a green varnish.
Dimensions: length is 87 cm, height is 48 cm, maximum depth is 49 cm
Condition: chest is in excellent condition commensurate with age and use, two padlocks are additions as is the additional and removable opening mechanism supports inside
Provenance: Austrian private collection
Auction result comparison: CHRISTIE’S, Interiors – Masters & Makers, London, South Kensington, 3 December 2013, 238 (for a comparable Armada chest)