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Insects Chess Set and Board

c 1790

World Chess Hall of Fame, Saint Louis, Missouri

World Chess Hall of Fame, Saint Louis, Missouri

In Europe during The Age of Enlightenment, an expanding population of prosperous, literate, scientifically-curious, and increasingly secular Europeans sought out decorative artworks, like chess sets, with natural specimens of many kinds as subjects. The Italian Insects Chess Set and Board (c 1790), with each ivory or ebony piece painstakingly modeled after a specific species of butterfly or moth, is a prime example.

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  • Title: Insects Chess Set and Board
  • Date Created: c 1790
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Board: 12 ½ x 12 ½ x 3 in., King Size: 3 ¾ in.
  • Provenance: Collection of Dr. George and Vivian Dean
  • Type: Chess set
  • Rights: ©Dean Collection, Richard Beenen Photography
  • Medium: Ivory and ebony

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