Very important and rare iron and chiselled bronze prevostal lock from the end of the 18th century.
The long rectangular chest of blued iron is adorned with a large moulded bronze frame with four concentrically moulded bronze targets at the corners. Another bronze moulding frames the targets inside the palace.
Almost in the centre, the projecting false bronze bottom of the lock also has the shape of a moulded target. Seven small round tabs secure the case.
The striker, much smaller, has the same decoration. It is fixed by three small legs identical to the others.
On the other side of the door, the lock is extended by a strong rectangular iron plate on which is fixed a large bronze lion's head richly chiselled in very strong relief, the mouth ajar, revealing at the bottom the reception of the key. At the four corners of the plate, four bronze sliders moulded in the shape of a target are used to operate the mechanism (some sliders are dummy).
The simple key has a ring with frog's thighs, a flattened spherical boss, a drilled cylindrical rod with a strong, encrypted bit.
The mechanism has two strong bolts and the toggle mechanism.
When in operation, the lion's upper jaw lifts and is held in the open position by a spring.
Any attempt to pick the lock releases this spring, causing the jaw to close abruptly, trapping the picker's hands and fulfilling the Provost's function of handcuffing thieves. The lock takes its name from this ingenious device.
Wrought, moulded and blued iron, turned bronze, moulded, chiselled in high relief.
Extremely spectacular piece, of which very few similar or neighbouring examples are known.
The museum Le Secq des Tournelles in Rouen also keeps a beautiful prevostal lock but of a very different design and layout.
It is a French work from the end of the 18th century for which the names of MERLIN and DUVAL, Parisian locksmiths specialising in this type of piece, have been put forward, but there is nothing to confirm this attribution.
Width: 52 cm - Height: 23.7 cm - Thickness: 7.8 cm
Width: 18 cm - Height: 23.9 cm - Thickness: 7.5 cm Front plate:
Height: 37 cm - Width: 28 cm
Diameter of the lion's head: 28 cm
Projection of the lion's head:
Height: 10.8 cm
Rouen 2007, Le Secq des Tournelles, catalogue no. 283, pp. 242/243.
Bordeaux 1973, La clé et la locrure, n°192 of the catalogue, p. 77.
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Location of the item France - 75002 Paris