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Detector lock

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1669 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bickford, Richard (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pierced and gilt brass on a background of blued steel

  • Museum number:

    693 to B-1893

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 5 []

Object Type
This highly ornate 'detector' lock was intended for the door of a private apartment or an office in a royal palace. Such locks were often carried by their owners when travelling and used in different residences.

Historical Association
The lock bears the arms of Cosimo III de' Medici. He visited London in 1669, the year before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany, and possibly ordered this lock on that occasion. The maker, Richard Bickford, was the most famous locksmith in London and a visit to his shop would have been on the itinerary of an important visitor.

The lock is signed on the rim by Richard Bickford. He was one of a family of locksmiths who worked for wealthy patrons. A few years earlier the Bickfords had made a jewel casket for Queen Mary, also displayed in the British Galleries.

Design & Materials
The ornament on this lock is similar to other fine metalwork by the Bickfords. It consists of finely chiselled, pierced and engraved gilt brass, mounted above panels of blued steel which provide a vivid and brilliant colour contrast.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1669 (made)


Bickford, Richard (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pierced and gilt brass on a background of blued steel

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with the arms of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1642-1723)


Height: 27.3 cm, Width: 17 cm, Depth: 5 cm approx., Weight: 2.5 kg estimated, maximum, Weight: 8.4 kg when mounted

Object history note

L'art du Serrurier Exhibition RF.2006/620

Descriptive line

Lock showing the arms of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, brass and steel, by Richard Bickford, London, ca. 1669

Labels and date

British Galleries:
By 1700 British locksmiths were famous for their technical and decorative skills. Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, probably ordered this lock when he visited England in 1669. It has two dials that indicate how often it has been opened; one is a dummy, to provide extra security. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Coats of arms


Metalwork; Architectural fittings


Metalwork Collection

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