Sangua Oculos (Old Red Eyes); Traditional Escardibul ‘Stauntonesque’ Olive Wood Chess Set, c.1965-1975
Old Red Eyes (Sangua Oculos); 32 medium-sized chessmen without board, Spanish, olive wood, Escardibul “Stawton” pattern, unweighted, c.1970.
Height: King 7.5cm, weight 15g, base width 3cm; Queen 6.8cm, wt 15g; Bishop 6.2cm 11 g, Knight 6cm 15g, Rook 4.7cm 13g, Pawns 4.6cm 7g.
W: lush burgundy felt bases; B: same
A ‘Picassoesque’ artistically restored example of the Victorian Era ‘Staunton’ chessmen reinterpreted by the Escardibul Company established at Barcelona in the mid-nineteenth century for the production of gaming room equipment (billiards, snooker, chess, etc.).
There are a number of different versions of this “Ajedrez Español Stawton” pattern which are well-known for their very distinctive ‘Escardibul’ knights that went on to influence later sets from Mexico, the Philippines and Latin America. This particular 70s pattern reminds me of the early abstract works of the great Spanish artist and sculptor, Pablo Picasso (d.1973) and is reminiscent of his ‘analytical cubism’ period between 1907-1915. The deconstruction of the traditional English tournament ‘Elgin marble’ knight is reimagined with a “simple” representational function that flirts with abstraction, a quirky trademark of these Spanish ‘Stawton’ patterns.
The set is carved/turned from olive wood – and I’ve let this beautiful wood do the talking whilst adding my own subtle touches in respect to the original finishing varnishes and olive waxes of the past which lend the work a very unique look (and fruity smell! – but nothing overpowering). As you may have noticed, the Picasso knights have been given the red-eye treatment, not only to match the burgundy felt bases, but to match the eyes of the elderly Andalusian stallions that were used by the mounted ‘toreadors’ in the bull-rings of Spain – the latter teased, or terrorized the beast while the ‘matador’ gave mate. Picasso was a regular at these bloody events, as many of his earlier works show, and if he would have reworked this old set I bet he couldn’t have resisted splashing a little claret into the knights’ eyes – just the feeling I get…
Sangua Oculos (Old Red Eyes); Traditional Escardibul ‘Stauntonesque’ Olive Wood Chess Set is UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual/blitz play. Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent bronze ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases. They are also accompanied by our unique, hand-drawn ‘Certificate of Artistry’ which will be posted out separately once we tally up how many ‘Bronze Signature’ sets pass through our galleries in 2021
“… all good things …” as the old saying goes.
Etsy Set Price: $750.00
thechessschach.com Set Price $650.00
Ref Code: SO21
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