Antique Viennese enamel and silver nef by Hermann Boehm

By Böhm, Hermann (Austrian, active from 1866)


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Hermann Boehm (active from 1866) was Vienna's most acclaimed enamellist working at the end of the 19th Century, and was especially well-known for his intricately-crafted, artistically-innovative objets d'art in the neo-Renaissance style.

This exquisite table nef is a typical example of Viennese neo-Renaissance design. Nefs, so-called because of the French word for this kind of ship (nef) were popular table decorations in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe.They would often be made out of precious metals and occasionally used to store expensive condiments such as salt, pepper and spices, as well as cutlery or napkins.

The nef is 34cm in height and elaborately detailed around its exterior with depictions of mythological scenes on pink ground. The body of the ship stands on a silver support on an enamelled base: the support is decorated with dolphins in blue, green and red enamels.

Above, the deck of the nef features enamelled sailor figures shown climbing the ladders. The ship has three masts, each of which has sails decorated with further mythological scenes, and a lookout on which there are further enamelled figures.

The underside of the nef features the makers' mark for Hermann Boehm, reading 'HB', as well as silver hallmarks, including a Vienna mark with the letter 'A'.


Artist / Maker
By Böhm, Hermann (Austrian, active from 1866)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Enamel, Silver
Multi-coloured, Pink, Silver


34 cm / 13.4 inches
24 cm / 9.4 inches
18 cm / 7.1 inches
754 g


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