Rare, small, late-Renaissance, Nuremberg, iron, 'armada box', strongbox or travelling safe with its original, naïve, painted decoration on later sledge feet



This is a rare, small, example of these characterful, early models of transportable safes. The much larger traditional chest sized strongboxes are more common and few small strongboxes survive either because less were made or they were broken into and destroyed. The naïve painting on this strongbox has survived in excellent condition over 400 years in excellent condition, exuding charm and character with acceptable losses and wear commensurate with use. The naïve, landscape and floral vignettes are a characteristically charming feature of these strongboxes, the inclusion of landscape scenes is more unusual. As well as money, gold and jewellery, documents and private papers are recorded as being kept in strong boxes, which were also used to safeguard items of personal value. The lock mechanism is unusually in working order so this strongbox can still perform its original function.

The top with eighteen, panels reinforced with strap work and bolts, retaining traces of their original stylised vignettes of flowers and foliage which are in better condition than usual. Retaining the original, working, lockplate engraved with birds amongst scrolling acanthus leaves hiding the 12 bolt lock mechanism. The original painted border around the edge of the inside top is a rare survival which i have not seen before as it usually does not survive. The central rectangular key plate, mechanism and key are original. The hinges original. The interior painted earth red which is traditional.

The front with eighteen panels reinforced with strap work and bolts. The two upper panels either side of the lockplate are painted with Northern European landscape scenes and the other panels contain stylized flowerheads depicting peonies, chrysanthemums and tulips. The false escutcheon centered on the front in the form of four acanthus leaf fleur-de-lys . The sides with nine, panels reinforced with strap work and bolts and original carrying handles and a repeat of the decoration on the front on a smaller scale. Retaining original, finely painted, naïve stylized vignettes of trees, flowers, trailing stems and landscapes on a dark green ground. Southern German, Nuremberg, circa 1600.

The oak sledge feet are typical of the period.

The painted decoration retains the original patina and could be cleaned to become more visible if preferred.

Provenance: Private Collection

Height: 18.9 in (48 cm)Width: 28.35 in (72 cm)Depth: 15.75 in (40 cm)
Renaissance (Of the Period)
Materials and Techniques:
Place of Origin:
Date of Manufacture:

Additions or alterations made to the original: the sledge feet are later and stylistically of the period. Wear consistent with age and use.
Seller Location:
Reference Number:
1stDibs: LU3867338160412
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Height 48 cm / 19"
Width 72 cm / 28 12"
Depth 40 cm / 15 "