Aurora Rubii (Red Dawn): 32 heavily-weighted chessmen without board, Soviet, caramel vs. dark walnut, antiqued/distressed, circa 1945-1955
Height: King 11cm, wt 30g, base width 3.5cm, Queen 9.5 wt 25g, Bishop 8.5cm 25g, Knight 8cm 25g, Rook 6.8cm 25g, Pawn 5.7cm 16g
W: red felt bases B: same
Quite simply a wonderful example of the earliest (and rarest) of the classic Soviet ‘Baku’ chessmen – the knights of the later Baku II series are more rotund in form (see the ARCHIVE GALLERY for examples).
I really had a lot of fun with set. When it arrived, the patina of the light side was all over the place and virtually non-existent on some pieces – it just didn’t look like a ‘complete’ set. To remedy this I brought these old warriors together by darkening certain pieces and lightened others, to the point where even I have trouble distinguishing between the original patina and those that have been colour-matched/antiqued.
The dark side has been partially stripped, or artistically stripped, as I like to say, because even with my ‘opening move’ I always bear in mind the antiqued finish that I am aiming for in the endgame. It is a very deep finish that required several layers of stains, oils, and wax. A glowing, deep walnut brown during the day and ebony in appearance during the evening.
There are a few knicks here and there, which I believe add to the overall character of the set as a whole. The main one is a few chips to the base of one of the light knights, but it’s not unattractive to the eye – just a ‘battle-scar’ – therefore it’s been kept for that reason. All in all, and if I do say so myself, a very sexy set to look at – and a total joy to play with, too!
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual/blitz play. Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver 2020 ‘power’ signature of the artist on their bases.
Ref code: AR20
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