Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.57
Object Name Chess
Title Chess Set
Artist Unknown
Date 18th c.
Description Board with 32 wooden pieces, 16 unfinished and 16 painted black, housed in original wooden box. Two pawns are later replacements. Pasted on inside of box lid is John Bartram's name. The board, while contemporary, is not original to the pieces.

Label John Bartram was America's best-known naturalist of the late 18th century and its first native-born botanist. Along with his friend Benjamin Franklin, Bartram worked to establish and grow the APS. Like Franklin, Bartram was an avid chess player, and this chess set reportedly belonged to him. However, apart from his name on the inside of the lid, there is no clear provenance for the set.
Material Board: wood (inlaid); Pieces: wood (natural and black-painted); Box: wood
Dimension Details Board: 18.625 x 15
Pieces: 3.5 (tallest)
Box: 4.25 x 11 x 6
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of John Harbeson, 17 January 1968.
Search Terms 18th century
eighteenth century
game