Man Ray resided for most of his career in Paris and developed his skills among the Dadaists of New York to become an influential figure in the Paris Surrealist movement. Chess was a game much admired by the Dadaists, particularly Marcel Duchamp, who encouraged Man Ray to learn at the Marshall Chess Club, West 4th Street, in 1915. In 1920 Man Ray prepared drawings for a chess set in the Dada tradition of taking an object and presenting it in a different form taking inspiration for example from the broken neck of a violin to design the knight. (See Gareth Williams Master Pieces, Quinet, 2000). In 1945 he was given the opportunity to realise these designs, when he was invited to participate in a group exhibition entitled The Imagery of Chess, by Julien Levy. He wanted a set to be 'a symbolic evocation. Taking the Egyptian symbols of kingship as the pyramid, this was used for the king. The Queen, a more feminine form, was suggested by the conical headdress of ladies in medieval times'.