Very rare chess set, hand made, created in the 1970s by Magda and Andrzej Nowakowscy in Warsaw Poland. This was one of approximately 20 sets made, and all depicted various battle scenes, some with figures identified as Saxons, Vikings, or Naval boats and figures.
This set actually represents a specific battle, fought in 1683 between the Polish Army (represented in brass) against the Turkish Army (copper), known as the Battle of Vienna. The city of Vienna had been besieged by the forces of the Ottoman Empire for 2 months, so the forces of the Holy Roman Empire joined with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to defend the city. The victory over the Ottoman forces enabled the Habsburgs to prevail and rule over this area.
The set includes the footed board that also serves as storage for all the figures, and it measures 18" square and 5 1/2" high. The board is heavy wood, with applied decorations in brass and copper, with filigree applied designs on each corner, two of copper, two of brass, all with inset amber gems and small heart designs. The feet are brass, and the applied square decorations on each side are brass and copper and depict a shield and banner with a crescent moon, the symbol seen on the copper figures. The chess board is brass and copper, held with small round head nails. The interior of the case is lined with fabric, and there are numerous fabric pouches for storing the chess pieces.
Each figure is handmade, even the similar pieces such as pawns are slightly different, and the Kings, Queens, Bishops and Knights all have fine details and inset "jewels". They vary in size from the highest (Ottoman Bishops 5 3/4'to Polish pawns 2 7/8" and rook cannons 1 1/2").
Polish King and Queen have jewels on crowns, and lacy capes, with other fine ornamentation. Note that the two Queens both ride sidesaddle.
Ottoman King and Queen also well adorned with capes and jewels, blue cabochons in their crowns, with other inset gems in crown and scepter.
All the copper Ottoman pieces have jeweled headdresses, some with jeweled scepters, and all carry the crescent moon symbol utilized throughout the Ottoman Empire.
The four royal figures have feathers in their crowns.
The knights are depicted as horses, with the Ottoman examples also having jewel decoration on sides and on standards. The horses are all well sculpted with reticulated heads, the Ottomans with a crescent piece on the face armor, the Polish with a feathered motif on the armor.
Condition is quite good, some dirt and verdigris visible, and three of the pawns seem to be without swords. None of the figures or the board have been polished, and have a nice soft patina.
All pieces are signed on the base with the Nowakowscy name and Warsaw (the rook cannons are not signed, there is not a flat surface to contain signature).
We have many additional photos, so please email any requests to see details of any of the figures or the case.
Apparently only a small amount of these chess sets were ever made, so this is a real treasure.
In addition to these rare chess sets, Magda and Andrzej created other small sculptures, all in the same interesting and whimsical style, with creative use of varying metals.
Please see all photos and read the descriptions.
Additional photos of specific figures available upon request.