Arts & Crafts silver and amethyst set floral brooch by Fred Partridge, £720 at Lay’s.

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She is perhaps best known today as the model for some of Laura Knight’s best early works, including the once shocking Self-portrait with Nude of c.1913 in the National Portrait Gallery.

However, she was a talented artist in her own right: skilled with the brush, the potter’s wheel and at the bench as a jewellery and enameller.

Working from her Lamorna Valley home, she sold through the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, the Woman’s Art Exhibition, Newlyn Art Gallery and at Liberty in London.

The half-dozen lots offered here by a family member comprised pieces both by Naper’s own hands, such as a stained and pierced horn comb carved with stylised fish (£225), and others by her tutor and mentor Frederick James Partridge (1877-1942).


An unfinished carved and pierced horn hair ornament by Ella Naper, £225.

Partridge (1877-1942), who worked and taught at the Barnstaple Guild of Metalwork, the Guild of Handicraft at Chipping Camden and the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in London, was a champion of both the Arts & Crafts style and Art Nouveau.

His use of plique-à-jour enamel was particularly notable for an Arts & Crafts jeweller and evident in a plique-à-jour, purple sapphire and green garnet set brooch guided at £500-600 sold at £880.


Arts & Crafts pliqueà- jour, purple sapphire and green garnet set brooch by Fred Partridge, £880 at Lay’s.

Caroline Lay, art sale manager at David Lay, is Naper’s great-great niece. She was on the rostum in February 2021 to sell a nude study by Laura Knight for £105,000.