Nef on wheels
Parcel-gilt silver, town mark and master maker's mark
27 cm. (10 ⅝ in.)
Master maker's mark punched on the edge of the hull
Provenance:France, private collection
Further information:This nef on four wheels with a drinking tube can be rolled back and forth on the banqueting board as a trick or puzzle vessel. Sea monsters in relief adorn the elongated oval hull and the bow is fitted with a spout ending in a nozzle formed as an animal head while a delicate S-curve handle is attached to the stern. Rigging and a billowing sail are attached to the mast, which rises amidships. The crow's nest is high up on the mast and a fluttering pennant flies above it. Clad in half-armour, guns at the ready, members of the crew are on deck, in the rigging and manning the crow's nest.
This nef is the work of Georg Müllner, whose master maker's mark is stamped on the edge of the hull next to the Nuremberg town mark, along with a wriggled assay groove. Born in Freiberg, Saxony, Georg Müllner was granted the right of domiciliation in Nuremberg in 1619 and was made a citizen of the city in 1626. Apart from numerous cups, he also made a large number of drinking vessels formed as ships of the 'nef on wheels' type, of which five more are known, including one acquired for the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg in 2016. Similar nef on wheels vessels were made in Nuremberg by other master goldsmiths, such as Esaias zur Linden.