Hybrid Jaques Lessing Style Chessmen

Lot #48. Hybrid Jaques Lessing Style Chessmen

Hybrid Jaques Lessing Style Chessmen.

A set of Boxwood and Ebony Hybrid Jaques Lessing Style Chessmen with mixed weighted and unweighted chessmen,and “Jaques London” inscribed on the base of the White King. One each Rook and Knight have the characteristic King’s crown stamp on their summits. The King stands 3-1/2″ tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. This is a well used Hybrid Jaques Lessing chess. This is originally an unweighted Jaques tournament size chess set that has been supplemented with weighted chessmen from a second Jaques Lessing set. Most of the original baize base pads are present on the original unweighted chessmen. These Hybrid Jaques Lessing style chessmen are housed in a replacement slide-top cigar box. This would make a decent practical playing set. 

The original unweighted Boxwood chessmen consist of all the pieces and three of the Boxwood Pawns. Four weighted replacement period Boxwood Pawns and one unweighted Boxwood Pawn were added to complete the White army. All the original unweighted Ebony chessmen are present, except for the weighted King, Queen and four Pawns, which have been added to complete the Ebony army. The Ebony King is missing its cross finial and has a hairline crack to the base.  The Ebony Queen has worn crenellations and two small chips. along with a major base crack and chip. No other hairline cracks are present. Two Boxwood and two Ebony Pawns have collar chips and one boxwood Pawn has a base chip.

Howard StauntonThe 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.

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