CH408 Canton/Leuchars-copy ivory set (and others)
Feb 13, 2015Public
Photo: CH408  Canton/Leuchars-Knight copy set

So-called, because the firm of Leuchars in Picaddilly, London are said to have retailed some of the very earliest Jaques ivory sets with knights that looked very much like the ones used in these sets.

Kings - 2.9in / 74mm

Chessmen of (African) elephant, not mammoth, ivory
Photo: CH408 'Family view' - white
Photo: CH408 'Black' side
Photo: CH408 Knights

The side views show these to be very similar in shape to the Leuchars Knight from amongst the very earliest Jaques sets.

There is however much confusion/controversy as to the Leuchars knights eg see:

https://picasaweb.google.com/108759751128274390004/TheMysteryOfTheLeucharsKnightAndCantonStauntonSets#

The knights are quite tall and slim compared to English-made sets.
Photo: CH408 The chessmen are carved of African ivory in sections (here a king, although I am not able to separate the cross easily). 

As can be seen, the screw threads are of the very shallow type that are typical of Chinese sets and I have no doubt that they were made there.
Photo: CH408 the box the set cane in.

Shallow, seemingly of oak, with a slide-lid top.

This box may not be original to the set; it is certainly not typical of sets associated with other Chinese-made sets, although it does have a similar raised central portion.
Photo: CH408 - box, another view.
Photo: Comparison of CH408 - front -  with CH348 (a Jaques ivory set from c.1890) - to the rear . 

For more images of the latter, see:

https://picasaweb.google.com/102034963874507604520/Jaques#5916077288625554466
Photo: Guy's set : K = 2.75in / 70mm

https://picasaweb.google.com/108759751128274390004/MyChineseIvoryPlayingSets#5833361715910687522

and subsequent images
Photo: Marco's set K = 83mm

http://dorland-chess.com/292-ivory-staunton.html
Photo: Marco's set - Knights
Photo: Mike Ladzinski's set K= 3 1/8 in (c.77mm)

https://picasaweb.google.com/116903836440379664507/AntiqueCatoneseIvoryStauntonChessSetCirca18491920s?noredirect=1

Unusually, in green & white, rather than the 'normal' red & white for these sets (and very attractive it is, too - at least to my eyes).
Photo: Auction catalogue listing - Bloomsbury Auctions, 26th Oct.2004
Photo: Bonhams Auction Listing, 13 May 2008 lot 169

It sold for £900 (hammer + Buyer's Premium - excl. VAT)

Note that Bonham's date this set to c.1850 (although given the frequent inaccuracy found in auction descriptions, I wouldn't take too much comfort from it!)
Photo: "Leuchars" knight?

This 'page' should be considered after viewing Guy's thoughts etc as contained in the album that is linked in the earlier image of the knights to CH408.

A & B are images taken from the Christies 2006 catalogue: The Ettore Chiesa Collection - lot 89 - see:

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/an-english-carved-and-turned-ivory-chess-4772487-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=4772487&sid=52ce582c-2c5d-4eb2-917a-ce9ebbc2c4b3

C is a cropped 'mirror' image of the listing (being a photo taken from the listing held up to a mirror).

D are close-ups of the knight from the resulting mirror image

E is the image of the Leuchars/Cook knight as shown in the 'Jaques Staunton Chess Sets' 2007 book . This image was not included in the subsequent, revised/expanded book.
Photo: Comparison of:

1) CH408 - which is fairly representative of the 'Canton Leuchars Copy' sets 

2) two early sets from images that appear in Alan Fersht's books on Jaques Staunton sets that, ignoring the knights, appear closest to the Canton/Leuchars-copy sets. 

Although there are differences, and later Jaques sets differ even more, I would say that the Canton/Leuchars-copy sets seem closest* to the 1853/55 sets. Whether this means that they are copies of the latter rather than the earliest Jaques sets, however, is impossible to say. Equally, it is not possible to say conclusively whether this demonstrates that they must have been made in the same period - or later (and into the early C20th), as some have suggested. Especially having owned/studied one in the 'flesh', however, my gut feeling is that they are earlier rather than later. 

Unlike the later Canton Staunton mammoth sets found (see separate album on these), these Canton/Leuchars copy sets are virtually identical in design to each other.