Altum Nobilis (High Nobility); 32 weighted wooden chessmen without board, Soviet origin, brown v red, c.1950-1970
Height: King 11.5cm, wt 30g, base width 4.2cm; Queen 10.2cm, wt 27g, Bishop 8cm 20g, Knight 7.3cm 20g, Rook 9cm 27g, Pawn 5.5cm 15g.
W: black felt bases B: same
A comfortably large and unique “one-of-a-kind” Soviet wooden chess set – and a very curious one at that – as it is difficult to date with any great accuracy. We can safely say, however, that it’s obviously a “one-off” hand-made design turned with some degree of skill and artistry. And judging by the original state of the pieces (which were once slathered in copious amounts of brown and aqua blue lead paint) the estimated timeframe above seems to me the most likely.
The pieces themselves are reminiscent of certain Tsarist Era sets from the early 1900s that I’ve come across, tall and haughty, but French influences are very evident here too, particularly the ‘Regence’ style balls below the double collars of the high nobility. I couldn’t resist adding my own touch to the set, reinventing the very skinny and distinctly unimpressive original nags with four of my own ‘hand-carved’ knights. These keep the original curvaceous ‘S’ shaped knights in mind but are much easier on the eye whilst keeping a rustic, earthy flavour about them.
Space is limited here, so for more photos and info on the set please visit our official site @ www.thechessschach.com and hit the GALLERY.
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual play. Both kings carry the hand-painted signature of the artist on their bases.
Ref code: AN20