Monday, 30 September 2019

Lewis Chessmen 'Rook' brings £735,000

The rook is a warder holding a sword and was bought by an antiques dealer in 1964 for £5 in Edinburgh. It was catalogued in his purchase ledger that he had bought an ‘Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman.’

The piece, carved out of walrus ivory, was then inherited by the dealer's daughter when he died. For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been wrapped in a small bag.

The piece was sold by Sotheby's on July 2 for £735,000. The Lewis Chessmen are four sets of chess pieces which were found on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland, in 1831. The British Museum holds 82 pieces, the National Museum of Scotland holds 11 and until now, 5 pieces were missing.
It was described by the auction house as the "most famous chess pieces to have survived from the medieval world".
One knight and three warders are still missing.