Slender Antique Northern Upright Chessmen.
Offered here is a superb and very unique set of Slender antique Northern Upright Chessmen, crafted from fine Boxwood and Ebony. The King stands 4.0″ tall with a 1.7″ diameter base. The pieces rest atop dark English baize and are weighted. This would indicate that the pieces were produced after 1850. Pre-Staunton chessmen were typically unweighted. Adding ballast to improve the stability of the chessmen was an innovation by Jaques of London employed with the introduction for their revolutionary Staunton Chessmen.
The set dates to the late Victorian Period but maker of the set is unknown. Northern Upright chessmen were produced by Jaques of London, as well as several other top London craftsmen. An image of a page from the 1860 Jaques Pattern book shows the Northern Upright chessmen as part of the Jaques offerings. The Upright chessmen offered here are more slender and graceful in form than other upright sets of the period. Northern Upright chessmen were common in the early and mid-Victorian Period. The Northern Upright design dates to the 1840s.
The chessmen are in incredibly pristine condition with rich honey hue. The Pieces are housed in a replacement wooden hinge-top box, not original to the chess pieces.
An image of the legendary World Champion Paul Morphy with a set of Northern Upright chessmen is shown here. These English Playing sets were ultimately supplanted by the Staunton chessmen which were introduced to the public in September of 1849. This set of chess pieces plays and displays best on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ squares. The reproduction antique chessboard shown in the images is included in this offering. A wide assortment of new and antique chessboards can be purchased separately elsewhere on this website.
A Bit of History.
The Northern Upright Tournament chessmen, often referred to as the Edinburgh (sometimes Edinboro) pattern, fall into the ubiquitous category often referred to as English Playing sets, which also included the Saint George, Lund and Calvert patterns. The English Playing sets were ultimately supplanted by the Staunton chessmen which were introduced to the public in September of 1849. The Northern Upright chessmen were designed by Lord John Hay around 1840. Similar sets of chessmen were made by Dixon, Thomas and William Lund, and John Calvert as well as George Merrifield and John Jaques, among others. The iconic image on the left shows American Champion Paul Morphy holding a Northern Upright King.