Lot #406. Large Type II English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen


Out of stock. Many of these items on this site are one-of-a-kind Antiques. Once they are gone, that’s it!


Large Type II English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen.

Here a fine example of a large set of bone Type II English Barleycorn Open Crown Chessmen. The chess pieces are natural and stained red. The royal pieces feature ornate open crown work on the King. The King sports a Maltese cross finial. There is a feather finial atop the Queen. The chessmen are all mounted atop smooth baluster stems with simple circular bases.The chessmen are fabricated from bone which is natural and red-stained. True Barleycorn style chessmen have  barrel-bodied Kings and Queens, and are normally fabricated from bone, rarely ivory. The King stands an impressive 5-0″ tall with a 1-1/2″ diameter base. The Rooks are pedestal-mounted reticulated towers.  The Bishops, Knights and Pawns are baluster mounted headpieces with simple turned bases and collars. The chessmen are in excellent condition for their age. One white Pawn has a chipped collar and one red Bishop has a small chip near the miter.  The pieces are housed in a period box, possible original to the set, The set was probably produced between 1820 and 1830. The Circa 1910 Tanner chess timer and the antique folding Chess and Backgammon board/box shown in the accompanying images are not included, but can be purchased 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.

Some Background.

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
Dimensions14 × 12 × 10 in