Carton Pierre Chessboard.
This offering is a rare example of the Carton Pierre chessboards which were offered by William Leuchars and designed to accompany the new Jaques Staunton chessmen which were housed in Carton-Pierre caskets. The folding leather chessboard has 2-1/4″ green and buff squares with Carton-Pierre panels affixed to the obverse. These chessboards were designed to accommodate the Carton-Pierre casket when folded. The Carton Pierre Chessboard was made in green and buff as well as Red and bone squares. These chessboards were only produced in 2-1/4″ squares. The chessboards with green and buff colored squares were intended to accompany the new Jaques Boxwood and Ebony Staunton chessmen, while the Red and bone colored squares were intended to accompany the Jaques Ivory Staunton chessmen. These chessboards date to 1849 and were designed to accompany Jaques Staunton chessmen with an 8.9 cm King, which play and display best on these chessboards. The chessboard is in very good condition with some minor discoloration to a few of the leather squares. The fragile Carton-Pierre treatment is in excellent condition with no losses. The folding chessboard is still in one piece with some cracking observed along the interior fold line.
Although the William Leuchars firm, whose upscale shop was located at 39 Piccadilly, claims to be the designer and manufacturer of the Carton Pierre caskets and chessboards, it was Joseph L Williams who designed the carton pierre decorative work for the Leuchars chessboards and caskets. It my belief that George Jackson & Sons were the actual manufactures of the molded carton-pierre panels that adorned the caskets and folding chessboards. Leuchars role was likely limited to assembling the Carton Pierre caskets and adding the Carton-Pierre panels to the pre-manufactured leather chessboards.
Leuchars was established at 47 Piccadilly, London in 1794 by James Leuchars. In 1820, the business moved to 38 Piccadilly shortly before James Leuchars died in 1822. Lucy Leuchars, James’ widow, continued the business under the name of L. Leuchars. In 1837, the same year as Queen Victoria came to the throne, the firm was awarded the Royal Warrant for their supply to the royal family.
Expanding to 39 Piccadilly in 1841, the name had now changed to Lucy Leuchars & Son; the ‘Son’ referring to William Leuchars. After Lucy’s death in 1847, William assumed sole control of the business. Leuchars exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the International Exhibition of 1862 and the 1867 Paris Exposition. They sold high quality items including ivory Staunton chess sets by Jaques of London and Carton Pierre caskets and chess boards as well as Compendium of Games Cabinets and Dressing Cases.