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Work of the Week: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

There’s more than initially meets the eye to this exceptionally intricate lock, which was forged in iron by metalworker Frank Koralewsky and illustrates a scene from Grimms’ “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

Look closely and you’ll probably see Snow White first—she’s stirring a cauldron over a fire in the cottage’s kitchen. Let your eyes travel down down to her left and right and you’ll see two dwarves entering with ingredients for her stew. The one to the left hauls a carrot and the one to the right lugs an oversized hare. A bit further to the right, two dwarves stand on andirons and manage the fire. And as you look toward the exterior of the scene, two more dwarves stand on guard. One just above Snow White turns a tiny knob, while the other is literally asleep on the job under a toadstool.

If you’ve been counting carefully, you know that we’ve only accounted for six dwarves so far. The last would have been perched on top of the key that would have unlocked this lock. The key isn’t here, but see below for a historical picture.

Koralewsky was a German-born metalworker who immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. He settled in Boston and joined the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, which specialized in locksmithing and hardware. This delicate piece took Koralewsky seven years to complete, but it won the gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and is now on view in Gallery 177.

Image Credit: Frank Koralewsky. Lock, 1911. Gift of Mr. Richard T. Crane.