Antique Washington Style English Playing Chess Set

Lot #345. Antique Washington Style English Playing Chess Set

Antique Washington Style English Playing Chess Set.

This offering is an example of an antique Washington Style English Playing Chess set. The chessmen are natural and red-stained ivory and bone. The King stands 3-5/8″ tall with a 1-1/2″ diameter base. The Royal chessmen are basically bone Barleycorn in design. The Kings and Queens feature  full, slightly tapered barrel bodies mounted atop urn-shaped pedestals. The Rooks are large rusticated towers with red painted mortar lines. The Bishops and Pawns have self-similar urn-shaped pedestals. These chessmen are the style as you would see on sets made during the latter half of the 18th century and early 19th century, often referred to “Washington” style chess sets.  These are authentic antique chessmen that will make a fine display.

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.

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