An ivory and ebony figural chess set South German, early 18th century
Lot 83Y
An ivory and ebony figural chess set South German, circa 1700
Sold for £16,800 (US$ 28,237) inc. premium
Auction Details
An ivory and ebony figural chess set German, circa 1680-1720
Lot Details
An ivory and ebony figural chess set
South German, circa 1700
the chessmen on turned and stepped circular bases, kings as monarchs wearing spiked crowns and doublets, queens with crowns and wearing cloaks turned back to reveal their hands, bishops wearing long jerkins, knights as horses' heads, rooks as raised turrets with cannon, pawns wearing baggy breeches and caps (kings, queens and bishops missing their swords or sceptres), with a 20th century wooden case with a fitted interior,
the king 9cm high, the pawn 6.2cm high.


  • The King and Queen are dressed in seventeenth to eighteenth century interpretations of Mediaeval dress, the Queen being the more accurate. The pawns are dressed in baggy breeches and flared bottomed coats, which might indicate a date of between 1680 and 1720, baggy breeches being out of fashion by 1730.

    Note also the similarities in the style of carving and content to a 17th century part ebony and ivory chess set sold at Bloomsbury Auctions on the 14th April, 2005 (lot 162). In this part-set, the monbloc rook has cannon mounted on the battlements, though the chess set in the lot sold here has a raised turret- in the manner of the early 18th century ebony and boxwood chess set shown in "Schach Partie durch Zeiten und Welten", figure 86 and the mid 18th century ivory set shown in "Spielwelten der Kunst", figure 89.

    Again, there are also similarities to the carved horses' heads shown in the same early 18th century boxwood and ebony chess set shown in "Schach Partie" (figure 86).

    References: "Schach Partie Durch Zeiten Und Welten", Edition Braus, 2005; "Spielwelten der Kunst- Kunstkammerspiele", Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna, 1998.
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