This charming miniature model reproduces the atelier of a French locksmith of around 1780. It is derived from the Planches of the Encyclopédie of Diderot & d'Alembert, published over the course of over twenty years, between 1751 and 1777. The Planches and related texts reveal the diversity and quality of the tools used by artisans and craftsmen in 18th Century France.
These designs prompted Louis-Philippe Joseph II (1747-1793), Duc d'Orléans and future Duc de Chartres, known as Philippe-Égalité, to commission a series of miniature workshops to further the education of his children, in 1783. These model workshops were executed under the supervision of Madame de Genlis, responsible for the education of the Duc's children, and to the specifications of Jacques-Augustin et Augustin-Charles Périer, ingénieurs-mécaniciens working for the Duc.
These miniature workshops were introduced in 1803 to the collections of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, Paris (atelier de serrurerie, inv.126).