Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games


July 11, 2016

John Company sets have a fascinating history. One side of the chess set represents the British East Indian Company (which in effect, ran India until the Mutiny of 1857) and the other side represents native Indian forces. The East India company pawns are sepoys- Indian troops in the employ of the East India company, wearing quasi British infantry uniforms, albeit with strings of pearls around their necks and tilting flat bonnet shakos- which would date the set to the very end of the 18th century.

These sets were made as luxury objects and sold as gifts to be exported back to Britain.