A 20th Century Spanish Nef

A 20th Century Spanish Nef

An Impressive, Rare Centrepiece

Designed to display extravagance, the nef is an impressive table ornament. Appearing infrequently at auction, this impressive, rare 20th century Spanish example was a highlight in our forthcoming Silver & Objets de Vertu auction.

Designed to display extravagance, the nef is an impressive, intricate table ornament. Appearing in medieval literature from the 13th century, they were originally thought to be drinking vessels and it is perhaps due to this purpose that some are formed as nautilus shells. Primarily though they have been a conduit for entertaining, the passing and sharing of the ship’s contents often acted in settings of diplomacy.

Perhaps the most famous Nef is the Burghley Nef, discovered at Burghley House by Arthur Grimwade, Sotheby’s silver specialist in the 1950s. Now housed in the V & A museum in London, with poorly marked French control marks, research suggests the Nef is probably from the period 11th December 1527-10 December 1528, , but the maker of the piece has yet to be confirmed. From contemporary documents in the house, it is thought that this nef may have been a salt. As more and more exotic spices travelled around Europe the nef would have been perfect carrier for such intriguing tastes and smells.

 

A 20th Century Spanish Nef
Lot 6 | A 20th-century Spanish three masted Nef | Sold for £6,300 incl premium

 

View Lot 6 ⇒

 

Often based on actual ships, Queen Vicotria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900), also known as Duke of Edinburgh, who was Admiral in the British navy had an armada of some fifty nefs with which he adorned his table.

The taste for centrepieces took off in the 16th century, primarily made in Germany, other examples can be found across the continent in France, Italy, and Spain, and would often feature automata to create a more awe-inspiring spectacle. Progressing from solely drinking vessels, the nef might sometimes include flatware and tableware for the guests to be beguiled even further.

Often based on actual ships, Queen Vicotria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900), also known as Duke of Edinburgh, who was Admiral in the British navy had an armada of some fifty nefs with which he adorned his table.

We are delighted to offer this rare 20th century Spanish Nef in our forthcoming Silver & Objets de Vertu auction.

 


 

Auction Information

 

SILVER & OBJETS DE VERTU

13 September 2022 

Live Online | Edinburgh

  

View the auction results ⇒

 


 

Silver & Objects of Vertu

 

Lyon & Turnbull’s Silver & Objects of Vertu department currently hold two specialist auctions per year - alongside the annual Scottish Silver & Applied Arts auction in August - dedicated to both British and foreign silverware from the 16th century to modern day.

While good quality pieces of traditional silverware remain popular, particularly items with an interesting provenance or by renowned makers such as Paul Storr, Paul de Lamerie, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell and Garrards; recent years have seen the emergence of post-war British silverware as an important collecting area. Scotland is proud to call home to a number of important contemporary silversmiths, including Malcolm Appleby, Graham Smith and Adrian Hope; and Lyon & Turnbull continues to champion new and emerging craftspeople via Elements, our annual exhibition of contemporary silverware and jewellery.

 

Learn More ⇒

 

 

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