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REF1111 Large fine “Thornhill” English Staunton
Circa 1859-1875

A fine ivory Staunton chess set of club size, one side stained red the other side left natural. The pieces with wide bases and fine turned bodies, knights as fine carved horses heads.

The set comes in the original mahogany lift top box with velvet lined interior and makers / retailers plaque “FARTHING & THORNHILL MAKERS 42 CORNHILL”

Also with English tooled leather board possibly originsl to the set.

Kings: 11 cm  Tall     pawns 5.5 cm

An extremely fine set, the quality of the turning and carving surpassing Jaques and other top makers.

For another example of fine work from Thornhills see Christies sale 5320 lot 32 “Animalier” chess set retailed by Walter Thornhill.

The Christies set was thought to have been of German origin and retailed in London by Walter Thornhill. The quality of the turning and fine carved knights would also suggest this set of German origin.

Walter Thornhill  soon built up a great reputation for the quality of his work, winning a prize medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the International Exposition of 1855 in Paris, the International Exhibition of 1862 and then multiple medals at the International Exposition of 1878 in Paris.

Around 1859, he was also trading from 42 Cornhill, London along side John Farthing, as Farthing & Thornhill. By 1875 Walter’s main business was known as Walter Thornhill & Co, to incorporate his son, Hubert Thornhill, and Albert Barker. Their premises expanded to 145 New Bond Street in 1878.

Unfortunately due to copycat dealers we no longer display our prices. However we would be delighted to hear from you, so please email us for the price of this item and for any further information.


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Tim Millard is one of the leading specialist dealers buying & selling Chess Sets & Backgammon boards with an extensive stock of antique sets ranging from fine Staunton sets by Jaques to fine European, Chinese & Indian Sets.

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