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Check Mate: Chess Sets from Around the World Exceed Estimates at Bonhams
The Game of War manufactured for H M Government. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- An 18th century Russian mammoth ivory chess set was the top lot of the Chess, Playing Cards and Games auction that took place on 17th January at The Bonhams, Knightsbridge.

The intricately carved set was highly sought after and eventually sold for £19,000, against a pre-sale estimate of £2000-3000. The village of Kholmogory in Russia is famous for the local craft of carving in bone, which as existed there for over four hundred years.

From Europe a very rare, 300 year old south German, ivory and ebony figural chess set sold for £16,500. Made around 1700, the King and Queen were dressed in 17th -18th century interpretations of mediaeval dress and the pawns were dressed in baggy breeches and flared bottomed coats.

A Chinese, jade mah jong set made around 1920 that belonged to HM Queen Elisabeth of Greece sold for £9,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £1,200- 1,600. The silk-lined wooden case that held forty jade tiles with bone counters and four jade and gilt dice was sold with a letter from HSH Prince Marc of Hohenzollern-Roumanie explaining the provenance of the set, dated 1979.

“The Game of War”, an intricate 600 piece game dating from 1890 sold for £4,000, four times its pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2000. It was designed to train British army officers at a time of uncertainty in the years leading up to the outbreak of The First World War in 1914. No-one could predict exactly when, but it was common knowledge that war was coming. As a result, the armies spent their summers at camp, in effect playing war-games, and training for the big European war that was on the horizon.

The game is played on a map drawn on a scale of six inches to the mile, and the troops are indicated by small slate blocks, coloured red for one force, and blue for another. It is a later British version of “Kriegsspiel”, a wargame originally invented by Lieutenant Georg von Reiswitz in the early 19th century for training officers in the Prussian army.





Today's News

January 21, 2011

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Smithsonian Chief Wayne Clough Says Banned Video by David Wojnarowicz a Work of Art

Magnificent Qing Monochrome Porcelains from the Gordon Collection at Christie's New York

Kunsthaus Bregenz Presents Exhibition by the South Korean Artist Haegue Yang

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Names Harry Philbrick as Director of Museum

The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives on View at The Morgan Library and Museum

Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church Thanks Singer Boy George for Icon's Return

£2 Million Gift from the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation Received by The National Gallery

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130 Belgian and International Exhibitors at this Year's Brussels Antiques & Fine Arts Fair

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Gagosian Gallery Presents a Mise-en-Scène of New Paintings by Piotr Uklański

VIP Art Fair: World's First Online Art Fair Launches Its Inaugural Edition on Saturday

Nailya Alexander Gallery Presents The Extra/Ordinary World of Pentti Sammallahti

Check Mate: Chess Sets from Around the World Exceed Estimates at Bonhams

Nicolas Krupp Contemporary Art Presents the Documentary Allegory of Peter Friedl

Museum Recovers $50K Civil War Gun Stolen in 1975

Pilar Luna, Pioneer of Mexican Underwater Archaeology, Given J.C. Harrington Award

John Beech: The State of Things on Display at Peter Blum Gallery in Chelsea

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough Defends Decision to Remove Controversial Video

The World's Greatest Toy and Train Collection Now on View for the First Time at Sotheby's

Seattle Art Museum's Picasso Exhibition Surpasses 400,000 Visitors, Breaks Record

The Famous Thames Whale Goes on Display at the Natural History Museum at Tring

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Exhibition of Photographs by Dorothea Lange at Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Cain Schulte Starts the New Year with Exhibitions by Matthew Barney and Sandra Munzel

Rosenbach Museum & Library to Deaccession Paintings by Walter Greaves

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



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