These chess pieces are reproductions of the Isle of Lewis chessmen. In 1831 the sea carried away a sandbank on the Isle of Lewis uncovering a mysterious building that had been buried under the sand. A peasant working nearby found what he concluded to be a collection of Elves and Gnomes. The superstitious highlander flung down his spade and fled home in horror. Superstition in Lewis had survived in a powerful form. Thus, when the peasant first looked at the group of singular little ivory figures it was natural that they should appear as the pigmy sprites of Celtic folklore. However, he was induced by his wife to return to the spot and take the figures home. He sold them to a local collector who realised they were chessmen. There were 78 pieces in all belonging to eight or more sets. This set does not include a chess board. Studio Anne Carlton have recreated some of these pieces to make a truly re-markable set in an Ivory tone and a darkened black finish.
The high skill of the designers, sculptors and craftsmen of SAC shines through in our collection of UK hand made chess sets and European chess boards. The richness of finish and attention to detail contribute to the success of the beautiful products from the SAC range, which are appreciated on five continents.
The chess sets are mainly produced in two finishes made from crushed stone poly resin. Hand painted sets where only certain parts are coloured by hand, whilst some areas remain plain, allowing for the natural material to be exposed after a light coloured wash of paint. Our regular sets are in a burgundy and cream plain finish with a light dark wash to emphasise the detail in the pieces. The chess sets do not come with the chess board which need ordering separately.
Studio Anne Carlton, SAC, was first established in 1969 to manufacture and distribute traditional games with the emphasis on chess sets. In 2003 the manufacturing production of the poly resin chess sets was moved to China, with design and development remaining in the UK. In May 2014 Ancestors® acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute the SAC range of decorative sets and classic games under their own brand Timeline®. Ancestors®, being a manufacturer of heritage products in the UK and casters in pewter were able to move the SAC brand into new areas of distribution and introduce, over the course of time, new products including English Pewter Chess Sets. All production of the chess set pieces is now in the UK and a far superior product is now produced.
SAC, UK made, chess pieces are highly sought after in the collectable markets. The fact that these highly prized pieces are completely hand made makes volume production out of the question. Consequently many of the earlier and discontinued sets are returning substantial prices when appearing at auction. The sets are avidly collected by enthusiasts all over the world.
Standard Chess sets do not include a chess board. SAC are very pleased to be able to provide a range of chess boards especially hand made in Europe using highly skilled craftsmen producing boards made to fit our sets in a variety of styles, finishes and including boards with space to accommodate and protect the SAC chess pieces. Also available are arange of high quality wooden games.