Hybrid Jaques Hartston Style Chessmen, Tournament Size.
A set of Boxwood and Ebony Hybrid Jaques Hartston Style Chessmen, heavily weighted, with “Jaques London” inscribed on the base of the White King. The King stands 3-1/2″ tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. This is a Jaques tournament size chess set that has been supplemented with Two Knights and four Rooks from an earlier set. The original baize base pads have been replaced with new baize. These Hybrid Jaques Hartston style chessmen are housed in a replacement slide-top cigar box. The majority of the chessmen in the set are circa 1895.
This is a very attractive Hybrid Jaques Hartston chess set with beautifully carved Boxwood Marshall Knights with drilled out pupils. One each Rook and Knight have the characteristic King’s crown stamp on their summits. The Ebony Knights and all four Rooks are the earlier Zukertort-style. The Boxwood King has two small chips on the upper fine collar. The Boxwood Queen’s crenellations have been repaired and the Ebony Queen’s coronet has a few minor chips. One Boxwood Bishop has a chipped base, but other than that, the Bishops are original and unrestored. The two Boxwood Knights each have one ear chipped. The Ebony pieces will have two or three very minor hairline cracks, typical for antique weighted chessmen. The Boxwood Pawns are all from a Hartston-Style Jaques set, but one is a lighter colored replacement. The Ebony Pawns all appear to be original. This would make a very nice practical playing set.
The Staunton Pattern was first offered to the public for sale in the Fall of 1849 by the company of John Jaques of London. The original design was registered to Nathaniel Cooke in the Spring of that year. The chessmen design was named after the self-proclaimed world champion, Howard Staunton, an English Shakespearean scholar. Whether or not the design was actually the brainchild of Cooke is open to much speculation. It is relatively certain that the pattern was not designed by the egotistical Staunton, as he never laid claim to such.
What is known is that, on 1st March, 1849, Nathaniel Cooke, 198, Strand, London, registered an Ornamental Design for a set of Chess-Men, under the Ornamental Designs Act of 1842. At that date, there was no provision for the registration of any design or articles of ivory, registration was limited to Class 2, articles made chiefly of wood.
The right to manufacture such sets was acquired by John Jaques and he began to supply the retail trade on 29 September, 1849. On the same day, the following advertisement appeared Illustrated London News: AA set of Chessmen, of a pattern combining elegance and solidity to a degree hitherto unknown, has recently appeared under the auspices of the celebrated player Mr. STAUNTON. A guiding principle has been to give by their form a signification to the various pieces – thus the king is represented by a crown, the Queen by a coronet, &c. The pieces generally are fashioned with convenience to the hand; and it is to be remarked, that while there is so great an accession to elegance of form, it is not attained at the expense of practical utility. Mr. STAUNTON’S pattern adopts but elevates the conventional form; and the base of the Pieces being of a large diameter, they are more steady than ordinary sets.@ Illustrated London News, September 8, 1849.