Anri Charlemagne Chess Set
Offered here is a beautifully hand-painted figural Anri Charlemagne Chess Set. The King stands 3-1/2″ tall with a 1-1/8″ diameter base. The Charlemagne chessmen are part of the Anri Toriart Collection, original Catalog #12604/Col. Both Kings and Queens bear the two Anri Toriart stickers under their bases as shown. The Toriart chessmen are a cast composite material invented by Anri called “Sculptite, which is a slurry of sawdust and resin. The castings are mounted atop weighted and felted turned Alpine Maple bases. The chessmen are housed in a fitted medium blue cloth covered display case with red velvet-lined Compartments. The underside of the lid is also lined in red velvet and stamped “Limes” in gold leaf. The Anri Charlemagne chessmen are inspired by King Charlemagne (768-814), widely recognized as one of the greatest Christian Monarch who unified most of Western Europe under the Carolignian Empire. Charlemagne is often referred to as the “Father of Europe”. These chessmen are among the most copied Anri designs. Anri chessmen are 100% made in Italy for those who can appreciate the true value of these magnificent artistic chessmen. The chessmen and interior are in excellent condition. The box is in very good condition. Anri Charlemagne chess sets were produced between 1968 and 1980.
In the late 19th century Alois Riffeser traveled to the major European cities to sell the wood carved figurines and toys which were bought from the farmers of the Gröden Valley located in the Dolomite region of the Alps. This area in South Tyrol was part of Austria-Hungary at the time until being annexed to Italy in 1919.In 1912 Josef Anton Riffeser founded the ANRI Company, which he named using the first two letters of his first and last name. After World War I, where he was in a prisoner of war camp in Siberia, he formulated his plan for a woodcarving company. He created his own models which he distributed successfully, mainly in the Alpine region.
When Anton Adolf Riffeser took over in 1945, he transformed the ANRI company, adopting a more industrial model which allowed for better quality control and distribution to new markets. He was followed by Ernst Riffeser who was able to enlist the services of many well known artists including Juan Ferràndiz, Sarah Kay and others. The ANRI company today is run by Thomas Riffeser, and still remains in the same family.
The wood art tradition has a long history in Val Gardena, Italy. The tradition of woodcarving dates back to the XVII century, when farmers started producing wood toys and utensils during the long winter season. The peasants than used to sell the items at spring markets. Part of the autonomous region Alto Adige/Southern Tyrol in Italy, the Val Gardena is known for its ancient romantic language, its skiing facilities – and its old tradition of woodcarving. The ANRI company’s chess sets from the 1950s through the 1980s were produced in this region and have gained collectors status, thanks to their unparalleled quality.
The Anri workshops are renowned all over the world because the wonderful wooden sculptures and statues made by the famous local sculptors and carvers.