18th Century English Sets
Chess did not take off un England until the end of of the 18th century.
The earliest English sets usually
found date from the last quarter of
the 18th C and are exceptionally rare. They usually have replaced
Above is an extremely
rare 18th Century
boxwood and ebony English set, in exceptional
3.65 inch (93 mm) king,
~1750-70. Note, knight larger than
bishop, and K and Q similar, as often found
in this period. The set has
quirks and characteristics expected of an authentic early set.
toured England in the 1770s with a set like this.
Knights, slightly different
sizes, mane on left as usually found with 18th Century sets.
Boxwood oxidised to darkish
authentic set should have this deep patination.
18th century carving simpler
less consistent than 19th C.
Bases of knights show
the characteristic spirally turning of an 18th century pole lathe.
The bases of the pawns also
show the turning.
Pawns have uniform
patination, but vary in turning as found in early sets. The
patination is the best clue
to pieces being original.
turning would be suspicious.
Rooks vary in size. The turner worked just by eye.
Note the judder on turning the top of the black rook and the turning
marks on the white.
This beuatiful ivory set has very similar characterisrics, with
confusing king and queen.
Photo from Joost.
George Washington set
The following ivory set is identical to one owned by George Washington
in Mount Vernon in the 1770s.
The simple urn, as used in
the stems, was popularised by Robert Adam at the end of 1760s.
date to the last quarter of
the 18th century
. One was
found in the wreck of the Halsewell that sank in 1786.
These simple knights were continued into the early 19th Century as they
were easy to carve.
The bone "spikehead" is from towards the end of the 18th C.
The manes are on the right, which may indicate a slightly later date.