Very Early Jaques Carton Pierre Casket.
A rare, very early, Jaques Carton Pierre Casket designed for Leuchars by Joseph L Williams to house the new Staunton Chessmen introduced by Jaques of London in September of 1849. The bone white velour interior indicates that the box was made in 1849. This professionally restored Neo-Gothic Sarcophagus lacks the original white hand-signed and hand-numbered label. These caskets would have been assigned to the earliest sets of standard-size Jaques Staunton Chessmen. A larger Carton-Pierre casket was also made to house the full Club-Size sets buy adding a false bottom. This sale is only for the Carton Pierre casket. It does not include the chessmen or the Carton Pierre chessboard shown. An accurate reproduction of the original Jaques 1849 Cook chessmen in bone with a facsimile of the green registration lozenges shown can be purchased here. An original Carton Pierre chessboard can be viewed by clicking here.
The white label, which bore the Jaques embossing, was often over-stamped by Leuchars. Examples of the Jaques embossing and stamp are shown. The Kings in these early Cooke-Leuchars sets would have been stamped “J. Jaques London” under their base or on the base of the rim. When these sets were sold by Leuchars, they often obliterated the J. Jaques London impression on the King and over-stamped it with their own stamp.
The following article introducing the new Staunton Chessmen and the Carton-Pierre casket appeared in the Illustrated London News in October of 1849.
“The most Elegant Christmas Present for New Year’s Gift is a set of THE STAUNTON CHESSMEN, in the unique box of Carton Pierre, resembling Richly Carved Ebony. In the finest African Ivory, 5 guineas; Wedgwood’s Carrara, £3; Ebony, etc., £1 15s; Club size, loaded, £2 5s, in mahogany box. Each box containing an admirable Treatise on chess by Mr. Staunton, May be obtained of all dealers of Chess-men. Wholesale, Jaques, Hatton-Garden. Any bookseller can procure them.”
Joseph Williams also designed the Leuchars chessboard’s exterior with carton Pierre decorative work in the Neo-Gothic style. These fine boards were first made by Leuchars of London to compliment the Jaques chess sets. The Carton Pierre board mates with the Carton Pierre casket that housed the new Jaques Staunton chess pieces.
Leuchars was established at 47 Piccadilly, London in 1794 by James Leuchars. In 1820, the business moved to 38 Piccadilly, shortly before James Leuchars died in 1822. Lucy Leuchars, James’ widow, continued the business under the name of L. Leuchars. In 1837, the same year as Queen Victoria
The most Elegant Christmas Present for New Year’s Gift is a set of THE STAUNTON CHESSMEN, in the unique box of Carton Pierre, resembling Richly Carver Ebony. In the finest African Ivory, 5 guineas; Wedgwood’s Carrara, £3; Ebony, etc., £1 15s; Club size, loaded, £2 5s, in mahogany box. Each box containing an admirable Treatise on chess by Mr. Staunton, May be obtained of all dealers of Chess-men. Wholesale, Jaques, Hatton-Garden. Any bookseller can procure them.”