Antique Saint George Style Tournament Chessmen.
Offered here is a set of Antique Saint George Style Tournament Chessmen in Boxwood and Ebony, unweighted and unfelted. The King height is 3.4″ with a base diameter of 1.3″. The pieces are in very good condition with a few collar chips which are shown in the Gallery. Also, one Ebony Pawn is slightly larger than the others as can also be seen in the gallery. The chess pieces are housed in an replacement Mahogany box. The chessmen are from the early Victorian period, produced around 1840. There were many manufacturers of these Saint George style chessmen, Jaques of London, Dixon, John Calvert, George Merrifield and Thomas and William Lund, to name a few. The antique Chess board shown in the images is not included in this offering, but a suitable chessboard is available elsewhere on this site.
The Saint George (or St. George) pattern chessmen are a variation of the ubiquitous English Playing sets designed with minor modifications, among which was the replacing of the cross finial with a simpler ball or plume, for the Saint George Chess Club. The St. George Chess Sets were designed for the Saint George Chess Club and first appeared around 1840. This is a very practical chess set design and was in common use through the early 20th Century. Chessmen of this type were produced by John Calvert, William and Thomas Lund, F. A. Ayres, British Company, George Merrifield, and John Jaques, among others (see Jaques 1860 Pattern Book Image).
About the Saint George Chess Club.
The Saint George Chess Club was formed soon after the dissolution of the Westminster Club (of which Staunton had been the Secretary) on 22nd December 1839 and reported on that date by George Walker in the newspaper Bell Life in London and Sporting News. The formation of the St George’s Chess Club was reported by Walker in the same newspaper on 29th December 1839. It would appear that the membership of the Westminster Club was encouraged to leave the Club and to join the newly formed Saint George’s Club that Walker had apparently already organized. So, the Saint George Chess Club was in existence since December 1840 and not 1842 as has been previously reported.