Type II Decorative Barleycorn Chessmen.
This offering is a fine example of a set of very early Type II Decorative Barleycorn Chessmen, with broad, heavily adorned, bodies on the Royal Pieces with fine acanthus leaf carving and an unusual “double-cross” King’s finial. The chessmen are all mounted atop smooth baluster stems with “lobed” circular bases. The chessmen are fabricated from natural and red-stained bone. The King stands an impressive 4-1/4″ tall with a 1-3/8″ diameter base. The Rooks are massive, reticulated towers, extremely intricately carved, with a heavily detailed body, surmounted with a double tower and a very detailed flag finial. The Bishops, Knights and Pawns are baluster mounted headpieces with lobed bases. The chessmen are in excellent condition, although one Rook has a full length crack, fairly typical for Barleycorn chessmen. True Barleycorn style chessmen have broad barrel-bodied Kings and Queens, and are normally fabricated from bone, rarely ivory. Very few Barleycorn chess sets would surpass this set in terms of sheer detailed workmanship. The set was probably produced between 1820 and 1840. The antique chessboard shown is not part of this auction, but may be purchased elsewhere on this site.