Hybrid Jaques Steinitz Chessmen

Lot #272. Hybrid Jaques Steinitz Chessmen

Hybrid Jaques Steinitz Chessmen, Tournament Size.

Offered here is set of Boxwood and Ebony Hybrid Jaques Steinitz 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. There are two color green baize base pads. This is a Jaques tournament size chess set that has been supplemented with pieces from a somewhat later Jaques Pre-Zukertort style chess set, although all four Knights are the very whimsical Steinitz Knights. Both Kings are from a Jaques Pre_Zukertort style set. These Hybrid Jaques Steinitz chessmen are housed in a replacement box. Half of the chess pieces are from 1865, the balance are from around 1875. 

This is a very attractive Hybrid Jaques Steinitz chess set with whimsically carved Steinitz Knights with drilled out pupils. Although this is a hybrid, it is very difficult to distinguish between pieces from the two sets. The set looks authentic at a normal playing distance. The chessmen are in very good condition overall with one chip on the collar of a Boxwood Pawn, a missing “wing” on the King’s cross finial, some roughness to the Ebony Queen’s coronet and a hairline crack to the base of one Ebony Knight. One each Rook and Knight have the characteristic King’s crown stamp on their summits. This would make a very nice practical playing set.

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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