Modern Biedermeier Style Chess Set.
Offered here is a a Modern Biedermeier Style Chess Set, Boxwood and Ebony. The King stands an impressive 5-1/2″ tall with a 1-7/8″ base. These stately Biedermeier Reproduction Chessmen are cushioned on a green felt base pad. The chessboard shown is not included in this offering, but a suitable chessboard can be found here. These luxurious chessmen are best played and displayed on a chessboard with 2-1/2″ squares. This is a new set and was produced in Amritsar, India around 2010.
The “Biedermeier” period is often associated with a period of relative peace following the French Revolution in 1830. The bishops of this design are characterized by the remarkable sloped headpiece with its protruding staff. The design of these chessmen is strongly inspired by the more primitive Selenus design of the 18th century. With a little imagination, one can discern, in somewhat abstract form, the heads of messengers or couriers, with a feather in their caps. The archetype for the name given to these chessmen in Germany and Austria was derived from “Mr. meier” (der biedere Herr Meier).
Apparently, this is an unostentatious style (of furniture and interior design popular among the middle classes in 19th century Germany) after Gottlieb Biedermeier, a satirical name given to the uninspired German bourgeois. Consequently, the chess sets produced during the early days of the 19th century in Germany and Austria are called Biedermeier chessmen. Biedermeier chessmen of the simpler type, like the ones shown here, were the standard playing sets in Central European coffeehouses for half a century or longer. They were ultimately supplanted by the new Staunton Pattern and later by the robust Austrian or Old Vienna Coffeehouse style, both of which were more durable and stable. The chessmen continued to be manufactured, but in significantly lesser quantities, until the late Victorian Period.