In the (very) old book Art and Progress Vol 4 (from 1913), the text refers to the lock, stating: "...Koralewsky's great wrought-iron lock, designed to illustrate the fairy tale of "Snow-White and Rose-Red", is one of the features of display of ironwork." Oops. Clearly the lock is Little Snow White, not Snow White and Rose Red, but even the official museum information today has a small print caveat under the information saying that information is constantly being updated on this piece. I'd love to know why it was made (beyond "it was a gift"). Why so intricate, why a fairy tale and why this fairy tale?)
(Designed/created by) Frank L. KoralewskyAmerican, born Germany, 1872-19411911Iron with inlays of gold, silver, bronze, and copper on wood base50.8 x 50.8 x 20.3 cm (20 x 20 x 8 in.)"Fkoralewsky" on iron surface; "FK" inlaid in copper
Gift of Mr. Richard T. Crane, 1926.521
Frank L. Koralewsky served as a traditional ironworker’s apprentice in his native north-German town of Stralsund. After obtaining journeyman status, he worked in various German shops before immigrating to Boston in the mid- 1890s. By 1906 he was a member of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, specializing in locksmithing and hardware. This extremely intricate lock, which took seven years to complete, exemplifies the early-20th-century taste for sentimental medievalism and represents the pinnacle of the metalworking tradition at the turn of the 20th century. Exhibited at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, where it won a gold medal, the lock illustrates Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”— Permanent collection label
Here is the handle (which you can see at the top in the straight-on views), depicting a dragon. I'm also curious as to why the artist chose a dragon...
By the way, can you find the seven dwarfs? They're all there but there's a trick to it...*
I believe the lock is currently on display at the Art Institute in Chicago (the last information I could find was posted in December 2012 but it's in the current artifact/information for this museum so I will have to assume this is here it's currently on exhibit).
I found one other carving by Koralewsky (called a "steel carving", though it appears to be wood) from an old museum catalog but apparently this is not on display anywhere. You can see a similar style to the characters and scene. There's no title, no information, other than that it's by Koralewsky and that it has the tags "metal work" and "craftsman". It looks very much like a tale - with a horse and a King and possibly a mouse (see bottom of the tree) as well as some blacksmiths but I don't know what tale it is.
You can see a selection of amazing and intricate locks by various artists HERE, though the Snow White lock by Koralewsky is the only fairy tale themed one. (Other examples of his work can be found HERE.)
*The seventh dwarf is hidden inside the lock. Now wouldn't that make for an interesting twist to the story?