27 June 2007
A ROYAL CHINESE-EXPORT CARVED IVORY CHESS SET AND BOX
Canton, mid-19th century
Of rectangular form with canted angles, carved throughout with palatial scenes, pagodas, figures, trees and boats, the hinged lid with the coat-of-arms of Umberto I, King of Italy and Margherita, Queen of Italy, concealing a twin-handled tray fitted with ivory and green-stained ivory chess pieces each with conforming coat-of-arms and mother-of-pearl engraved games counters, on paw feet, together with a silk-lined protection case, with an oval inventory label inscribed, 'R. PALAZZO.../N. 919/S.M.'
The box -- 7½ in. (19 cm.) high; 14½ in. (37 cm.) wide; 10½ in. (27 cm.) deep; The King -- 5½ in. (14.2 cm.) high; The pawns -- 3 in. (7.5 cm.) high
By repute a gift from Rama V, King of Siam, (1853-1910) to Umberto I, King of Italy, (1844-1900), and Margherita, Queen of Italy, (1855-1926).
Palazzo Reale, Turin.
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The initials 'S.M.' stand for 'Sua Maesta' and refer to an inventory entitled 'della Sua Maesta' of Royal works of art drawn up in Turin between 1891-1907.
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