Merrifield-Lund Signed Ivory Chess Set.
Offered here is a Merrifield-Lund Signed Ivory Chess Set fabricated from African Elephant ivory and manufactured by William Lund around the middle of the 19th Century. The underside of the Kings bears the Lund maker’s mark, These antique chessmen are natural and red-stained. The Merrifield-Lund design differs from the more common Lund pattern chessmen by the very ornate carving on the heads of the Kings and Queens. They feature distinctive ribbed baluster bodies, a Maltese cross adorned with five spheres mounted on a spiral orb surmounting the Kings, and the very ornate Fleur-de-lis finials surmounting the Queens. The Kings and Queens have reeded and carved tops. The Rooks are reticulated towers with a flag mounted watchtower. The knights feature well carved horses’ heads. The pawns have reeded ball finials mounted atop multiple disc-turned stems and stepped domed bases. The white king engraved ‘Will’m Lund, Maker, 24 Fleet Street’. The King stands 3-3/4” tall. William Lund manufactured chess sets, along with his father, Thomas Lund, who died in 1843, after which William took over his father’s Cornhill premises. William Lund was previously located at 23-24 Fleet Street from around 1835 and appeared in the London Trade Directories starting around 1845. He continued to produce chess sets throughout the 19th century.
Merrifield-Lund Pattern chessmen are a subset of the English Type I Playing sets. Aside from Lund, these sets were also made by George Merrifield. The Merrifield-Lund sets differ from the other Lund pattern chessmen in that the headpieces of the Kings and Queens are far more ornately carved. The term English Type I Playing Set is used to describe a range of English Playing chess sets, primarily fabricated from ivory, and made mostly, but not uniquely, in England during the 19th century. This poplar chess set design is characterized by narrow tapered, ringed bodied, Kings and Queens. The Kings will normally have reeded crowns surmounted by Maltese Cross finials. The Queens will normally sport either a Feather or Fleur de lis finial mounted atop a reeded spherical headpiece. Rooks are normally stout, full-bodied reticulated towers, often sporting tapered staffs or flags. English Type I Playing Chess Sets first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century and were in common use through the early 20th Century. Aside from William and Thomas Lund, English Type I chessmen were produced by John Calvert, John Jaques, George Merrifield, Fischer, Hezekiah Dixon and Charles Hastilow, among others.