Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games

“Spanish Pulpit” Chess Set, circa 1800

  • “Spanish Pulpit” Chess Set, circa 1800
  • “Spanish Pulpit” Chess Set, circa 1800
  • “Spanish Pulpit” Chess Set, circa 1800
  • “Spanish Pulpit” Chess Set, circa 1800

A “Spanish Pulpit” Bone Chess Set, circa 1800

one side stained dark brown, the other side left natural, kings surmounted with feathers, queens with faces, bishops with faces and mitres, knights as arched horses’ heads, rooks as turrets with galleries and elongated finials, pawns with baluster knops, the chessmen with green baize to the undersides, probably added at a later date

King: 11.5cm high

Pawn: 3.7cm high

Stock Reference: DF 1714

Provenance: Major Private Collection



Green baizes to the undersides of the chessmen, probably added at a later date.

White Side:

A few hairline age cracks and natural flaws.

Brown Side:

A few hairline age cracks, natural flaws and some rubbing to the stain. Nice, shiny patina.

A Note From Luke

The mysterious “Spanish” Pulpit. The origins of these sets still remains unclear. They appear in English inventories in the late 18th century and it has been suggested that they are either English in origin, or the work of French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic period. Another possibility is that they are Russian exports from the Baltic area, although as yet, I am unaware of any Pulpit sets carved from walrus ivory, which is what you might expect from that region.

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