Library Size French Régence Antique Chessmen.
This is a set of Library Size French Régence Antique chessmen, natural and brown-stained Boxwood, circa 1900. The King stands 2-7/8″ tall with a 7/8″ diameter base. An image of the typical collar cuts on the bishops is shown in the gallery. Except for a longitudinal hairline crack in the Brown King shown, the unweighted and unfelted chess pieces are in very good condition. There is an antique slide-top box included with the chessmen, probably original. The antique chessboard shown is not included in this sale. The French Regence-style chessmen cover a wide range of periods and style, dating back to before the days of Ben Franklin and André Philidor through the early twentieth Century. Régence, Lyon and Directoire sets are fairly common, but still quite charming.
From a practical chess playing aspect, these chessmen have several shortcomings. The chess pieces are fairly unstable and easily overturned during play. Also, the Queens, Bishops, and Pawns are sometimes confusing and difficult to tell apart. These design deficiencies were common to almost all pre-Staunton designs and were likely responsible for the huge success of the revolutionary new Staunton design, registered by Nathaniel Cooke and produced by the firm of John Jaques of London. The Staunton pattern chessmen first appeared on the English market in October of 1849 and soon displaced all other chessmen designs as the first choice of chess players for casual and tournament play.