Antique Fisher Lund Chessmen.
Offered here is a superb set of Antique Fisher Lund Chessmen, natural and red stained ivory, produced around 1865.The King stands a majestic 4-3/8″ tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. The chessmen are in immaculate condition with original cochineal red stain color still strong. The chessmen feature open crownwork on the Kings, a feather finial atop the Queens and the other pieces and Pawns as ringed reeded bodies mounted atop baluster stems. Although this Antique Fisher Lund Chessmen design is attributed to Samuel Fisher, the extraordinary workmanship on this set of chessmen is typical of the work of William Lund, who also produced this chess set pattern for sale in his own store at 24 Fleet Street. Similar sets were also made by John Jaques among others. A page from the 1860 Jaques Pattern book shows a set of very similar design.
Samuel Fisher was a retailer located at 188 Strand who imported higher-end products from various manufacturers, including chess sets, boards and games compendia. Although the chessmen are stamped “Fisher 188 Strand”, the unmistakable Lund Knight clearly marks this as likely a product of William Lund. These chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ squares. The chessboard shown is not included, but a suitable chessboard can be found elsewhere on this site.
Note: Several States have either enacted or have pending legislation restricting the sale or purchase of antique Ivory artifacts. Please check with your State Government before placing an order for any antique ivory from this website. International Trade in all forms of Elephant Ivory is strictly prohibited.
Samuel Fisher, at 188 Strand, first shows up in the London directories in 1839 (as a dressing case maker), and continued through at least 1899. In 1882, the listings changed to Fisher & Son. Although it is generally assumed that Fisher was solely a retailer, he is curiously listed as an ivory Turner in the 1865 and 1869 trade directories, although no other references corroborate this. The Fisher firm sold all kinds of items, not just dressing cases and needles, but also billiard tables, stoves, trunks, travelling bags, scissors, Nuremberg caskets, lamps, and flasks.
The premises of Samuel Fisher could be found on the corner of Arundel Street and the Strand. Arundel Street was built in 1678 on the site of the demolished Arundel House. The picture on the left shows the shop as it was in 1851, next to the entrance to the Crown and Anchor Tavern.
Samuel Fisher was a young man from the parish of Saint John, Hampstead. He first appears in the records in 1837 when he marries Mary Smith of St. Clement Eastcheap. An advertisement in The Graphic mentions the establishment of the firm in 1838. This corresponds with what is known of the previous occupant, Francis Szarka, who left in 1838 after the expiration of the lease. The 1841 census shows the couple at 188 Strand. In various directories and advertisements Samuel Fisher is referred to as a cutler. Samuel died on 9 March 1890 at 10 Anerley Park in Surrey. An interesting short history of the Fisher firm can be found here.