Studium Antiqua (Old School); 32 weighted wooden chessmen without board, Soviet, restored, chestnut red v black, circa 1945-1960
Height: King 9cm, wt 25g, base width 3.5cm, Queen 7.3cm 19g bw 3cm, Bishop 6.5cm 13g, Knight 6cm 13g, Rook 5.5cm 20g, Pawn av. 4.8cm 10g
W: antiqued red felt bases B: same
An unusual but quite charming and unique chess set, most probably a one-off, hand-turned creation made by an inventive, chess-loving Soviet woodworker sometime around the middle of the last century. The pattern of the king is reminiscent of earlier Soviet sets of the tsarist era, which may have inspired our anonymous artisan. All the pawns, the rooks, queens and kings are turned from what looks like laburnum wood and carry a wonderful grain. The pawns vary in size, due to the skill of the turner, but in my opinion are all from the original set. The knights are of a different wood and are either modelled on the classic Soviet patterns from the first half of the twentieth century or may simply have been ‘borrowed’ from another set. This particular knight design comes in many variations and features in a number of popular Soviet chess sets from the 1920s on. In either case, they fit in quite perfectly with this homemade design and make a very handsome playing set, despite their mysterious origins.
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual play. Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver signature of the artist on their bases.
Ref code SA20
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