Lot #343. Open Crown English Playing Chess Set



Open Crown English Playing Chess Set.

This is a marvelous example of a large Open Crown English Playing Chess set. The chessmen are natural and red-stained horn. The King stands 4-1/4″ tall with a 1-1/4″ diameter base. The chessmen are basically Barleycorn in design, but with very fine open crown-work surmounted with a large Maltese cross finial. The Kings and Queens feature  well-turned tapered barrel bodies mounted atop baluster-shaped pedestals. The Queen sports a feather finial. The Rooks are pedestal mounted reticulated towers surmounted with a flagless staff. The chessmen were produced in the United Kingdom in the early 1840s.

The term Barleycorn, when applied to chessmen, is widely used for a range of English Playing chess sets made primarily, but not uniquely, in England during the 19th and early 20th centuriesThis ubiquitous chess set design is supposedly derived from the shape of foliate decorations on the Kings and Queens. Many Barleycorn sets have decorations resembling the leaves of barley or other similar embellishments. However, many more lack these decorative embellishments, but still retain the Barleycorn moniker. Barleycorn pattern Chess Sets first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century and were in common use through the early 20th Century.