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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Chinese Export Lacquer

Chess Set



ea Early 19th c. Chinese Export Lacquer Chess, Drafts, and Backgammon board in Chinese lacquer in very good original condition Circa 1830.

Early 19th c. Chinese Export Lacquer Chess, Drafts, and Backgammon board with turned and carved pieces 

An important turned and carved English  made tournament size  ivory Chess Set. 

The board (when closed) measures 22.25 inches by 11.1 by 5 tall. 

This board has been photographed with a view to using the illustrations in a book on Antique Boxes we are currently preparing for Schiffer Books USA.



The Ivory Chess set , circa 1835, although unsigned, it is of the highest and best quality. It is  in the style of Lund. 


 It was either made by Lund, or is a copy made by Jacques (on commission).





The treatment of the Knights' head is not Calvert's'. 


 Donay Games say:

"I think you're right - the set is very much in the Lund manner but he usually signed his sets on the bottom of the white king. Anyway, the knight is dead on - Calvert treated the jaws differently. It's 1835ish and, lacking a
signature, just an outside chance that Jacques might have copied it for a

An English ivory tournament size chess set red-stained and natural, the royal pieces with carved crowns, the bishops with mitres, rooks as turrets, Knights with horses heads on highly turned stems

Dimensions of chess pieces.

King:  4.25 inches tall.
Queen: 4 :inches tall.
Bishop: 3.25 inches tall.
Knight: 3.25 inches tall.
Rook: 2.5 inches tall.
pawn:  2.25:inches tall.







The  Chinese lacquer in very good original condition overall.  The 
interior  of the two section board is laid out for backgammon 
Chinese made for export to England circa 1830 . The chess set is English.

Dimensions:9.5" wide 7" deep 6" tall (on feet)

The menace of the opposing army's can be felt!
Natural ivory and stained ivory.





Overall, the chess set is in very good original     condition.  The Knights lost some ear in battle.









Detail showing the four toed dragons.

These are in two colored gold with the flames and tongues picked out in red lacquer.

The  Chinese lacquer in very good original condition overall.  The black lacquer is decorated with  gold in two colors, depicting figures and buildings  in  landscapes;  and there are four toed dragons!   

The  decoration  is of extra  fine quality      








The  Chinese lacquer in very good original condition overall.  

The black  lacquer is decorated  all over with  gold in two colors, depicting figures and buildings  in   landscapes;  and four toed noble dragons (above).  Not for George sort of dragon: girl's best friend!

 The  decoration  is of extra  fine quality.




There has been some chipping (as can be seen in the picture on the right) to the lacquer at the edges. This has been carefully and professionally consolidated and filled. 



The "black" squares are all decorated with scenes from Oriental life: under changing trees talking, with changing hair styles!  a selection can be seen below:












The detailing in the flying creatures is exquisite: the wings.

The lacquer, as would be expected 
in a used and played board was chipped at 
the corner; this has been consolidated and 


The back, which can only be seen when the board is closed: book like.




With the Board are a boxed set of  turned and carved and pierced draughts/backgammon pieces

In all there are sixteen draughts/ backgammon pieces in natural ivory and sixteen in ivory which has been stained red. 

The diameter of the pieces is 1.38 inches. The shakers are 2.75 tall.




There are also two  turned and carved ivory dice shakers.


The ivory dice shakers are turned and carved with scenes of Oriental life.




The edges  and the inside  are also decorated with  stylized leaves in gold lacquer. 
More wondrous insects and flowers.

The contrast of the white ivory against the black lacquer. The richness of the red and black with gold..

 The contrast of the square with the circle.

The turned  carved and pierced pieces are larger than is usual. 

The pieces are both thicker and wider. For illustration the picture shows a white piece from another set for comparison 

The board is the larger size of lacquer board. Its on the bottom of the picture on the left. 

The leather board on the left with red and cream squares is tournament size and accompanies this set. It is gold tooled. Unfortunately, (liked and used?), it has come apart in two. The gold tooling is c.1835.

I will put hyperlinks in here for the other two sets when they are available.

The board has warped slightly which results in the "smile" which  can be seen here when the board is closed.

For the historical context of this box read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.

We are preparing a highly illustrated book on Antique Boxes  for publication next year by Schiffer Books USA. This box has been photographed with a view to including the pictures.

  2000 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly