Anri Versailles Chess Set
Offered here is the rare Anri Versailles Chess Set, with beautifully hand-carved and hand-painted figural pieces. The King stands over 5-1/2 inches tall with a 1-5/8″ diameter base. These finely hand carved Anri Chessmen are crafted from Alpine Maple and are hand-painted. The bases are lightly weighted and the pieces are felted. The Anri Versailles chess pieces are housed in their large Alpine Maple hinge-top box with a removable compartmented tray. The Anri Versailles Chess set design was produced between 1961 and 1973. The Chess Pieces are in excellent condition. The box exhibits some minor surface scuffing, consistent with long-term shelf storage. The Anri Versailles chess set is one of the more rare of the ANRI chess products. Anri chessmen are 100% made in Italy for those who can appreciate the true value of these magnificent artistic chessmen. No chessboard is included, but a suitable new or antique Chessboard can be found here. An Anri chessboard that will work well with these chess pieces can be found here.
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.