Northern Upright Tournament Chessmen

Lot #276. Northern Upright Tournament Chessmen and Draughts

Northern Upright Tournament Chessmen.

A superb set of Northern Upright Tournament Chessmen crafted from Boxwood and Ebony, unweighted and unfelted, possibly by Jaques of London (See the attached image). This style of chessmen was common in the early and mid-Victorian Period and dates to the 1840s. The King stands 4-1/2″ tall with a 1-1/2″ diameter base. Included in this loot are a complete set of 30 Boxwood and Ebony Draughts/Backgammon Checkers. The English Boxwood pieces have a very pleasant patina.  The chessmen are in excellent condition and are housed in a replacement Mahogany slide-top box. These Northern Upright Tournament chessmen, often referred to as the Edinburgh (sometimes Edinboro) pattern,  fall into the ubiquitous category often referred to as English Playing sets, which also included the Saint George pattern. An image of the legendary World Champion Paul Morphy with a set of Northern Upright chessmen identical in style  to the one offered here is attached. These English Playing sets were ultimately supplanted by the Staunton chessmen which were introduced to the public in September of 1849. The antique chessboard and Fattorini and Sons Federation Chess Timer shown in the images are not included in this offering, but can be purchased separately elsewhere on this website, see

A Bit of History.

The design of these English chessmen is attributed to Lord John Hay around 1840, although this attribution has not been rigorously established. Similar sets of chessmen were made by Dixon, Thomas and William Lund, and John Calvert as well as George Merrifield and John Jaques, among others. This particular set could have been produced by the John Jaques firm.

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