Migrum Milites (Megrino Knights); Soviet Upright Weighted Chess Set, Artistically Recreated with master-carver, Misha Sokolov of the Megrina Art Studio, Russia, c.1980s
Height: King 11cm, weight 16g, base width 3cm; Queen 10.5cm, wt. 14g; Bishop 9cm 12g, Knight 6cm 12g, Rook 5.2cm 16g, Pawns 4.8cm 6g.
W: lush Prussian Blue felt pads; B: same
This is the third of four projects ventured into with my friend and fellow artisan, Misha Sokolov. The rooks are my own design, replacing four missing originals and wonderfully ‘turned’ into reality by Misha, the ‘magician’ from the Megrina Art Studio, Megrino. Two missing light knights were also delicately carved by Misha and the pieces colour-matched antiqued and brought together by yours truly. Sadly, all future projects have been put on hold because of the troubles in Ukraine, from where I just recently discovered this set supposedly originated (more on this later).
The set was purchased (incomplete) back in 2017 with no board and no accompanying information other than it was Soviet. Having searched for a few years with no luck I finally decided to design the missing rooks myself, solely based on how I imagined they’d look, as I had come across no similar sets for sale and no photographs of the original pattern. I chose Misha to work with, as I was well aware of his stunning Isle of Lewis replica pieces intricately carved from walrus tusk and elk antlers and his delicate and detailed carving from maple wood surpassed my expectations.