Canes Belli (Dogs of War); 32 weighted wooden chessmen without board, English, wood, caramel vs. deep brown, c.1945
Height: King 7.5cm, wt 14g, base diameter 3.1cm; Queen 6.7cm 14g, Bishop 6cm 9g, Knight 5cm 9g, Rook 4cm 9g, Pawn 3.8cm 4g.
W: light grey felt bases B: same
A lovely medium-sized, weighted analysis set designed in the ‘Staunton’ pattern named after the author of The Chess Player’s Handbook (London 1847), the infamous Howard Staunton, who also organized the first (unofficial) World Championship of Chess held at London, England in 1851.
The knights are sometimes said to have ‘dog-faced’ expressions, hence my little play on words in their name. Ironically, it was the unusual expression of the knights that first attracted me to this design, which in its original state was quite plain and boring in appearance. In fact, I don’t believe the wood had been given any kind of protection at all. Therefore, I decided to remedy this by staining and antiquing the lighter pieces using various oils and waxes, while the dark side also received several coats of danish oil (walnut) giving it a deep rich brown, almost ebony colouring.
Various little chips and cracks have been restored. The white queen’s collar was badly chipped and has been replaced, as has the collar of the black king, which was in a similar condition. One of the black bishop’s collars carries a ‘battle-scar’ which I chose to leave as I believe it adds character to the set, as does the slight lean of one of the white bishop’s all of which are evident in the photographs.
In general, Dogs of War now looks like it originates from its allotted post-WWII time-frame, rather than appearing like it jumped off the lathe a few decades ago! The added weight also makes it quite enjoyable to play with, as does the addition of felt pads.
The set is UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual/blitz play. Both kings carry the hand painted ‘iridescent silver’ signature of the artist on their bases.
Ref code CB20
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