Lot #419. Type II English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen


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Type II English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen.

Here a fine example of a set of bone Type II English English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen, featuring ornate open crown work on the King and a feather finial atop the Queen. The chessmen are all mounted atop smooth baluster stems with simple circular bases.The chessmen are fabricated from an extremely high quality natural and red-stained bone, possibly horn. True Barleycorn style chessmen have  barrel-bodied Kings and Queens, and are normally fabricated from bone, rarely ivory. The King stands an impressive 4-1/4″ tall with a 1-1/4″ diameter base. The Rooks are pedestal-mounted reticulated towers with and a tapered staff surmounted with a ball finial.  The Bishops, Knights and Pawns are baluster mounted headpieces with simple turned bases and collars. The chessmen are in excellent condition.  The set was probably produced between 1830 and 1850. The antique folding Chessboard shown in the accompanying images is not included, but can be purchased elsewhere on this site.

The term Type II English Barleycorn chessmen is used to describe a range of Barleycorn designs which feature simple turned, ringed bodies and ornate finials.  These chessmen were primarily fabricated from bone and were made  in England throughout the 19th centuryThe chess pieces, with the exception of the Rooks, will be pedestal mounted. The Rooks are normally stout towers, but, as in this case, can be pedestal-mounted and often sporting tapered staffs or secondary towers and flags. The English Barleycorn chessmen first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, which coincided with the advent of the ornamental lathe.

 Despite its early popularity, the Barleycorn design was quickly replaced by the now standard Staunton chessmen, first offered in September of 1849. The new Staunton  chessmen proved to be much more stable, durable and suitable for practical play. 

Additional information

Weight5 lbs
Dimensions12 × 12 × 10 in