Trunks are one of the oldest types of furniture in existence today. They date back many centuries and come in various shapes and styles. This leather and brass trunk, known as a malle, has some spectacular features that make it a unique find among traveling trunks.
Produced in Avignon, in the South of France in the 1600’s, this beautiful trunk is not truly a dome top, as the lid slopes downwards to the back. The tops of the sides are not horizontal, with the back rising higher than the front. Scrolled iron handles are affixed to the sides, which are unadorned except for the small nails that allow the leather to adhere to the wood panels that form the frame.
The facade and lid have both have brass mounts that feature stylized dolphin supporters with intertwined tails. The lockplate on the frontage has the dolphins flanking a cherub mascaron that is topped with an open crown and fleur de lys points. The mount affixed to the lid has similar elements, but instead of a crown, there is a cartouche beneath with a shell and roundels. Both mounts are surrounded by hundreds of brass nailheads of various sizes, arranged in patterns that include interlaced scrolls, petaled flowers, and roundels. In between these arrangements are polished brass pieces, such as raised rosettes and fleur de lys.
During the French Revolution, items that displayed fleur de lys were often destroyed out of protest, as the flower was indicative of the French royalty. This trunk has survived through the centuries and is in very good antique condition. Today, this highly decorative French trunk from the 17th century can be used to store various household goods or linens.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor losses and missing nailheads. Leather has light buildup or is worn in some areas. Most of the interior lining is gone, except for the underside of the lid. No key.
H - 22 7/8, W - 42 3/4, D - 19
17th Century Leather and Brass Fleur De Lys Malle Trunk from Avignon, France
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