Large antique silvered metal nef sailing ship
Continental, Early 20th Century
Height 61cm, width 65cm, depth 25cm
Made in Northern Europe in the early twentieth century, this nef – a grand table ornament in the form of a large sailing ship – is crafted from silvered metal, and renders in intricate detail and great style the form of a galleon, populated with figures of sailors, and rigged with lateen sails, fore-and-aft, and sails square to the keel on the main three masts. The riveting and construction of the hull is likewise rendered with great fidelity, the exceptional detailing and minimalist abstract treatment of the sailors demonstrating both the maker’s skill and artistic flair.
Pieces such as this were immensely popular in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Germany – were this work was likely made – in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Examples can be found in some of the world’s finest museums, including one clock mounted piece in the British Museum, and this fine piece is a fitting part of the history of nautical antiques.