Tunbridge Ware Games and Game Boxes


In an age when large middle class Victorian families were mostly reliant upon self-entertainment the game box and compendium were essential requisites of daily life. The game of chess allowed for the display of cerebral fitness, whilst a Tunbridge Ware chess board might be considered a status symbol especially if adorned with elaborately turned and carved Chinese or Indian ivory chess pieces, stained in red or green.

After 1849 such ornamental sets might well have been supplanted by the now ubiquitous ‘Staunton’ chess pieces, named after the English Chess Master Howard Staunton,  after a design credited to the journalist  Nathaniel Cooke and first supplied by the makers Jacques of London.

Parlour and card games and  would be tidied away in ornamental wood or card games boxes  - remembering that only religious educational wood jigsaw puzzles were permissible on Sundays to the exclusion of most other games and pastimes.

Alongside chess boards, cribbage boards also found favour both in the home and the tavern game room.

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