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English, circa 1900 - 1930
Box Height 2.5” (6.5cm) Width 6” (15cm) depth 4” (10cm)
Stock No. 9256
Literary references to the game of chess being played during travel date right back to the 12th century. In the tale of Sir Tristam and his lover Isolde it is written, ‘It was an essential portion of the equipment of the troubadour or minstrel that he should be a chess-player, and he carried the implements of play with him. Thus, Sir Tristam, travelling disguised as a minstrel…’ King Richard 1 (1157-1199) used to play chess whilst travelling on his crusades to the Holy Land. The 16th century traveller, Paolo Boi, who journeyed all over Europe playing chess against the best players of the time, was even said to have played the game with some Turks whilst riding on horseback as he was travelling through Hungary. Louis Xlll of France (1601 – 1643) also owned a chessboard ‘made of wool with spiked pieces made for use when travelling’. In the early 1700s, Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, had a leather folding chessboard that is now housed in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and Napoleon also played chess on his Polish Campaign. Folding chess boards with a compartment for the pieces have been discovered from as early as the 1300s. The English travel writer Richard Twiss wrote in 1787, ‘Chessboards are now commonly made for the use of those who travel by water, or in a carriage, with a hole in each square, a peg at the bottom of every man…’