Jefferson's English Chess Set

Artist/Maker: UnknownCreated: 1800-1840

Origin/Purchase: uncertain; possibly London

Materials: ivory

Location: Parlor

Owner: Alderman Library, University of Virginia

Accession Number: 1949-5-1/32

Historical Notes: This set has abstract, rather than figural pieces made of turned and carved ivory. It is of a popular type usually called "barley corn." The dark figures are stained red with cochineal, a dye commonly used in the 18th and 19th centuries which is derived from the dried bodies of females of the scale insect Dactylopius coccus. It is not known exactly when and where Thomas Jefferson acquired this set. It is one of two sets currently at Monticello.

- Text from Stein, Worlds, 77