Late Victorian Games Compendium.
A rare example of a Late Victorian Games Compendium housed in a quality wooden hinge-top box consisting of a complete set of Coffeehouse Chessmen with a 2.4″ x 1.0″ King set in a removable tray, a complete set of Double Eight Dominos,32 wooden checkers which can be used for American Checkers, Continental Draughts, Turkish Draughts, Backgammon and Nine-Man Morris. Also included are a set of 10 table Bowling Pins and a set of four bone Die. A two-sided wooden Game Board measuring 11-1/2″ square is included, with a chess/checker board on one side and a Nine-Man Morris board on the obverse. The Chess pieces, Dominos, Checkers, Pins and chessboard are in excellent condition. The Late Victorian Games Compendium box is in superb condition for its age. Circa 1895
A Bit of History.
Although unmarked, it is likely that this games compendium was produced by F.H. Ayres, an English sports and Games manufacturer and retailer dating back to 1810, doing business in Aldersgate in the city of London. It is known from various ads that they produced and sold Chess sets of various quality and styles along with other recreational games and toys. A report in the June, 1895 issue of Strand Magazine, by William G. Fitzgerald, documents visits to several London firms that made sporting goods. The visit to F. H. Ayres takes up most of the space in the article. The article contains many images, though not actual photographs, but ‘half-tone’ images. The observation in the Strand Magazine article that Ayres employed twenty craftsmen dedicated to just the making of chess sets. Unfortunately, aside from a few ads by Ayres illustrating their chessmen designs, there was never a catalog produced by Ayers delineating the range and prices of products offered by them nor any supporting images of their various designs.