An excellent example of an actual “treasure chest” from the 17th century, this heavy iron strong box possesses artistic touches which enrich its presence. Made of the heaviest iron construction by European craftsmen, these chests were sold to the sailing nations, including Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and of course, England. Used to transport and secure gold, silver, documents and other valuables, once loaded and locked, it would be incredibly difficult to move.
Impressively artistic inside and out, this box has a presence which is eye- catching. Its exterior has painted floral motifs with a burnished patina, showing very much a Baroque Spanish influence. Heavy twisted iron beckets at each end had to have been hand-forged by a master smithy. The large original key fits the lock in the center of the lid, hidden under the swivelled panel, and triggers the 12 bolts which are the chest’s primary security. The interior locking mechanism is covered by a scroll-cut panel that features hand-inscribed floral work held by four men, with hats, baggy pantaloons and heeled boots. There is an additional locking internal compartment with key and a false escutcheon on the face of the chest, between the pair of vertical iron hasps which would hold two additional padlocks. Once a portable safe, this box is now itself a treasure.
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