ANTIQUE ANGLO / INDIAN IVORY CHESS SET IN FITTED BOX
Circa 1860 – 1880
Height of king: 3.625 inches / 9.2 cm
Stock number: RW3898/0119
A fine Anglo/Indian ivory chess set, one side natural white, the other side stained red, all contained in its original fitted box.
Anglo Indian ivory sets are highly desirable to collectors. The main feature of these sets is that they are made by some of the finest Indian carvers specifically mimicking the English style of playing pieces from the early 19th century onwards.
More common are the monobloc sets in green and white or red and white often with stylised knights and with generally “bulbous” pieces that were not to the fancy of the true Victorian chess player already converted to the Staunton style of set.
Much rarer are the type of sets we have here which rather than mimic the English sets, actually demonstrate the skill and prowess of the carvers from Berhampore and the like in carving sets with original designs of specific pieces (here the kings and queens and rooks) but in all other aspects being a Staunton set. This set is remarkable for its knights which are uncommonly akin to the Elgin marble type Jaques knights and the quite unique decoration (cleverly executed) of the king’s crowns and the queen. The rooks also stand out with their fine flags which are unusual for Staunton sets. The set is a true club set with the king at just under 10cm and what makes this set even more remarkable is the fitted box which we believe to be made for the set. In two fitted trays and in a lockable cabinet this item does indeed sit alongside the fitted box playing sets from Jaques and Lund et al in England.
Typically an Indian box would be of sandal wood or vizagapatham in style but this of course would be quite incongruous for such a set. This fine fitted box is of oak which suggest that the set was imported and the box made for it on commission or (and perhaps more likely) the box was made in India on commission.
This is a fine quality playing set with the added benefit of being a fine set to display or to store safely.
There is some damge to the tops of the kings and two of the rooks have lost their flags, one has had the end broken of and one flag needs reattaching.