Isle of Lewis chess pieces


These chess pieces are taken exactly from the originals in the British Museum, which were discovered on the Isle of Lewis in the last century and are thought to be between 900 and 1000 years old. 

Key figures:

  • King: With four pigtails, the king sits on a simple carved chair (4" tall) 
  • Queen: Also known as the 'grumpy Queen' from the expression on her face, she also sits on a simple carved chair
  • Bishop: One giving a blessing, holds a staff and sits on a single carved panel chair. The other stands, holding a staff and psalter
  • Knight: Mounted knights, both have swords and shields. One has a coned helmet, the other rounded
  • Castle: Not the later tower-type, but rather warders (or prison guards). One has his shield in front, the other in his left hand
  • Pawn: A Celtic knotwork inscribed lozenge

Originally made from elaborately worked walrus ivory and whales'  teeth, modern-day pieces are now cold-cast and stained to give an antique finish, the two sides to the set differentiated by an ebony/ivory colour.

Antique finish only, made from cold-cast powdered marble and resin in Somerset.


Due to being a hand painted artisan product, every set will be unique and your set will vary slightly in colour from the pictures on our website.

These playing pieces look beautiful on our traditional wood boards. A board is not included but we have pictured this set on an 18" Oriel board (sold separately).