29 January 2013

A 17th century game board

The image above shows top and bottom view of a magnificent game board from the 17th century, whose story is detailed at The History Blog:
Attributed to Georg Schreiber of K√∂nigsberg, Prussia, a 17th century master craftsman famed as the chess set maker to royalty, the game board is made of opaque white amber and translucent red amber on a wood chassis with an ebony superstructure, carved Roman-style portrait busts and chased silver accents. There’s a Nine Men’s Morris board on one side, a chess board on the other, and it opens up to reveal a diptych backgammon board. Inside it holds 14 game pieces of cream amber, with a white amber profile in the center overlaid with translucent red amber, and 14 pieces of translucent orange amber. The profiles are of all the kings of England from William the Conqueror to James I...

This particular game board with its exquisite craftsmanship and royal English theme may have first been owned by King James I, who ruled England at the time of the board’s creation and who is the last English king portrayed on the game pieces... we know that King Charles I was an avid chess player, not even interrupting his game when he was told that the Scots had changed sides and were supporting Parliament. According to the tradition that has accompanied the piece for centuries, King Charles I brought the game board to the scaffold on the day of his execution, January 30th, 1649...
Further details on the provenance of the board at the link.  Here's a view of the board opened for playing backgammon:

1 comment:

  1. I was addicted to nine-man morris and backgammon in the Navy - I can't find anyone else who plays the former, and most people who know the latter are all about the smash and burn tactics instead of the long game.

    It would make a beautiful quilt or stained-glass window.


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