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Games board and accessories

Games board and accessories

  • Place of origin:

    Granada (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1525-75 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak board with marquetry of ivory, ebony and coloured woods with ivory and ebony accessories

  • Museum number:

    154-1900

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Pair of hinged, games boards forming a box with spring catch. When open it forms a chess board with raised shallow borders, the inside arranged for backgammon within raised borders, with two central, rectangular panels of distinctive stylised floral sprays. With two loose boards which were originally held in grooves on the outside, for Fox and Geese, and nine men's morris (both with chess grids on the reverse). Along the raised rim are holes for markers, six arranged singly and 24 in pairs separated by squares of mosaic Made of oak? with marquetry (over canvas and paper) of rosewood (or ebony), ivory (some stained green), silver and other woods, and panels of micromosaic on the removable boards.

With 15 ivory and 15 ebony draughtsman. There are also two leather dice cups and two dice, two markers and a flag all of ivory.

Restored, probably during the 18th century (based on fragments of paper from an 18th century dictionary used in re-glueing loose veneers), and again more recently when the shaped inner edgings to the backgammon boards were replaced. The lock and hinges replacements.

Place of Origin

Granada (probably, made)

Date

1525-75 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Oak board with marquetry of ivory, ebony and coloured woods with ivory and ebony accessories

Dimensions

Height: 13 cm closed, Width: 56.3 cm closed, Depth: 34 cm closed, Height: 6.5 cm open, Width: 56.3 cm open, Depth: 68 cm open

Object history note

Bought for £15. 8s. 5d from M. Fulgence, 75 Rue la Boëtie, Paris (82314/1900), and attributed to Venice.

"Board for backgammon, chess, merelles or Nine Men's Morris, and Fox and Geese (?): of oak with marquetry in ivory, silver and coloured woods. It has a spring fastening with silver plates. The board is fitted with two slides arranged for games, and there are thirty draughtsmen, fifteen of ivory and fifteen of ebony with ivory centres, two leather dice-boxes, and two dice, two markers and one flag all of ivory. It consists of two hinged parts, which when open form a chess-board outside, the light checkers being enriched with mosaic ornament; at either en are bands and lozenges and round the whole a raised border decorated with squares of mosaic. The inside is arranged for backgammon, the 'points', alternately of ivory and mosaic, being separated by rectangular compartments decorated with geometrical forms and floral sprays; along the raised rim are holes for markers, six arranged singly and twenty-four in pairs, separated by squares of mosaic. One slide is arranged for chess on one face and for fox and geese on the other, and the other slide similarly for fox and geese and for merelles; each face of the two slides has a rectangular panel of maosaic at each end. Italian (Venetian); 16th century. Much damaged; portions broken, missing and repaired."
For a comparable board see Wilfried vond Seipel, Spielwelten der Kunst; Kunstkammerspiele: Kunsthistorische Museum Wien (Milan 1998), cat. 24

Another similar pair of boards, without loose boards, (unrestored) with a London dealer (2007).

Attributions for intarsia decorated boards have varied between southern Spain and Venice, and similar techniques were used in both areas, and derive in both instances from the Islamic world. The survival in Vienna of a rare early 14th century games board with geometrical inlay, that belonged to Ferdinand II of Tyrol (see Wilfried vond Seipel, Spielwelten der Kunst; Kunstkammerspiele: Kunsthistorische Museum Wien (Milan 1998), cat. 76), and attributed to Venice, suggests that this type of decorated gamesboard may have been a NE Italian luxury product (at least from the 14th century) which was copied during the 16th century in southern Spain, where similar techniques of micro inlay were practised.

Descriptive line

Venetian, 1500-1600, leather

Spain, 1500-1600, leather

from a games board, Venetian, 1500-1600, marquetry

from a games board; Venetian, 1500-1600, marquetry

Venetian, 1500-1600, oak with marquetry

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ivory

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Venetian, 1500-1600, ebony

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

M. Rosser-Owen. Islamic Arts from Spain (London: V&A Publishing, 2010) p. 89.

Production Note

Andalusia or Granada

Materials

Oak; Ivory; Ebony

Techniques

Joining; Marquetry; Hand-carving

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Games

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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