Lot #151. Tower of London Chess Set, Charles Stadden
The Tower of London Chess Set by Charles Stadden.
The Tower of London pewter chess set, designed by Charles Stadden and manufactured in 1978 by Buckingham Pewter, in celebration of the 900th anniversary of the founding of the White Tower. The Tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror (William I), the Duke of Normandy and the first Norman King of England, to control London. It soon became the center of power for those who fought for and schemed to rule
England. Fittingly, the king is William the Conqueror, who stands 4-1/4″ tall on a 1-7/8″ diameter base. The pawns are 3-3/8″ tall. Every piece bears the official touch mark granted to Buckingham Pewter by the Association of British Pewter Craftsmen (Note: Pewter is an ALLOY which means it is composed of more than one metal. Most modern pewter is composed of 96 percent tin and 4 percent copper although there are many variations.). This chess set is number 475 of a limited edition of 500. This lot includes a custom oak frame chess table with a green and ivory leather top. The table is 32″ wide. The drawers have green foam with cutouts for each of the chessmen. The foam has deteriorated badly and will require replacement. The chess pieces depict historical personalities associated with this period in history. This lot is complete with all the original documentation, including a charter of ownership signed by the Constable of Her Majesty’s Tower of London, a pair of white gloves for handling the chessmen and a small brush.
Charles C Stadden was born in Leytonstone, London on 12th June 1919. His parents were Francis Stadden and Emily James. Charles Stadden had been interested like most youngsters in model soldiers, but in 1951 he decided to turn his hand to their commercial production. The experience gained in light engineering before the war assisted him in revolutionizing some of the manufacturing techniques. While still producing ‘master’ models for manufacturers he allowed his artistic talents to return to drawing and painting and the current interest in military uniforms made his work much sought after. His name is included with the well-known military artists of an earlier era such as Harry Payne and Richard Simpkin.
Over the years Charles Stadden produced military figurines many sizes. Although most well-known for military subjects, he produced many other pieces for the toy and gift trades including sculptures of film and pop stars. He has also authored and illustrated several books on military history.
The world-famous Stadden Studios which were based in Twickenham in the UK, have been closed for many years now, making his military figures highly collectible and sought after. His miliary figurines are intricately detailed in both the uniforms and the badges. Although he ceased to make figures around 1995, he was still painting watercolors until a few weeks before he passed away at the age of 83 years.