Lot #103. Selenus Style Chessmen


A set of natural and black Mammoth ivory Selenus Style chessmen designed by Oleg Raikis in 2009. The design of these chessmen was inspired by the delicate Selenus designs from the 18th century.  The King stands 7-0” tall. This design likely  originated in Germany and Austria. These chessmen were normally turned from bone in segments that were then threaded together.  They earned their moniker from the chess set designs illustrated in Gustavus Selenus’ Das Schach-oder König-Speil (Leipzig, 1616). This design is often referred to as the Tulip set in England.

These sets, sometimes referred by the name “Garden Sets”, had elegant lathe turned bases, shanks,  and tiers with galleys resembling flower pedals and crowns. Pieces were distinguished by heights and the number of galleys.

There have been a number of variations on the Selenus theme over the years. In the early 1800s, Michael Edel of Munich published a set of patterns. Notable in his designs was the convention that a straight edge would rest aslant on each the decreasing heights of the tops of the pieces from the King down to the pawn. He also replaced the Castle with a Bell Tower with a cupola. In 1743 in Hanover, the distinctive German Twin Knight appeared. Northern Europe also produced several distinctive chessmen designs.