Lot #356. Lund Ivory Chess Set, 3.7″ King



Lund Ivory Chess Set, 3.7″ King.

An antique Lund Ivory Chess Set fabricated from African Elephant ivory and manufactured by William Lund around the middle of the 19th Century. These antique Lund Ivory chess set is natural and red-stained. The King stands 3.7” tall with a 1.2″ diameter base. The Bishop headpiece design would indicate that this is a later set. The chessmen are in excellent condition, but the White Queen is a good replacement from a very similar set, but poorly stained to match the patina of the other chessmen in this set, as can be seen from the image of the white chessmen.

This design, with the distinctive ribbed baluster body, reeded Kings’, Queens’ and Pawns’ headpieces, the Maltese cross surmounting the Kings and the feather finials surmounting the Queens, is likely a pre-1840s design. The more elaborate fleur-de-lis Queens finials would have adorned these sets after 1840 or so. William Lund manufactured chess sets, along with his father, Thomas Lund, who died in 1843, after which William took over his father’s Cornhill premises. William Lund was initially located at 23-24 Fleet Street around 1835 and appeared in the London Trade Directories starting around 1845. William Lund continued to produce chess sets throughout the 1800s.

Jaques Pattern BookLund Pattern chessmen are a subset of the English Type I Playing sets. Aside from Lund, these sets were also made by Jaques of London, as illustrated in the adjoining image. The Lund sets featured finely turned chessmen with ribbed baluster bodies with stepped, domed bases, and very distinctive Knight heads. They were offered in several different sizes and configurations. Sizes can range from a small 2-5/8″ King to full-size sets measuring 4-3/4″ and larger. Kings in the better sets will have reticulated crowns surmounted by a large Maltese cross finials with either three or five small spherical adornments. The Queens have spherical reticulated headpieces surmounted with one of three finial types. The finial types are a feather finial, the more decorative fleur-de-lis finial and a simple reticulated sphere. Some sets were also produced with the Queens lacking a finial. Lund style chessmen suffer from the same instability problems as many pre-Staunton designs. 

The term English Type I Playing Set is used to describe a range of English Playing chess sets, primarily fabricated from ivory, and made mostly, but not uniquely, in England during the 19th centuryThis poplar chess set design is characterized by ringed bodied chessmen. The Kings will normally have reeded crowns surmounted by Maltese Cross finials. The Queens will normally sport either a Feather or Fleur de lis finial mounted atop a reeded spherical headpiece. Rooks are normally stout, full-bodied towers, often sporting tapered staffs or flags. English Type I Playing Chess Sets first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century and were in common use through the early 20th Century. Aside from William and Thomas Lund, English Type I chessmen were produced by John Calvert, John Jaques, George Merrifield, Fischer, Hezekiah Dixon and Charles Hastilow, among others.