This Lewis Chess set has a high quality wooden board, and is modelled on one of the British Museum's most iconic pieces. The chess pieces are smaller-sized reproductions of the 12th century originals (these pieces are 3-6cm high compared to the approximately 10cm originals). The authenticity of these as true representations has been certified by the department of Pre-History and Europe at the Museum.
The remarkable chess pieces were found in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides. No exact account of the discovery remains, but they apparently came to light after the collapse of a sand-bank on the coast of the island revealed their hiding place to a passing islander.
93 pieces from the hoard are known today. They are all carved from walrus ivory and include a belt buckle and some plain draughtsmen as well as the 78 chessmen. They date from the mid to late 12th century, and the style of carving, especially the intricate interlocking animal and floral designs on the thrones of the seated figures, indicate that they are of Scandinavian workmanship; however, their exact origin is not certain and they may have been made in Britain by a craftsman skilled in this style of Viking art. The British Museum bought 67 of the chessmen towards the end of 1831.
Discover more about the Lewis Chess pieces here.