This amber box and board with chessmen is one of the most impressive amber artworks dating from about 1700 in existence. Comparable amber chess sets are extremely rare and the few that are extant have survived, as might be expected, are primarily in public museums of princely origin: in the Green Vault in Dresden from the collection amassed by Friedrich August I of Saxony; in the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg from the collection of Catherine II of Russia and at Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen from the Royal Danish Treasury. Apart from the exquisite workmanship and quality of this amber box with chessmen, its provenance is also remarkable: until only a few years ago it was still in the possession of the Dukes of Atholl at Blair Castle in Scotland. A letter sent by Lord George Murray in the Blair Castle archives verifies that the Scottish nobleman acquired this exquisite work of art in 1758 while he was in exile in Amsterdam and sent it to Atholl as a present for his son, John Murray.
Acquired by Lord George Murray (1694-1760); acquired in Amsterdam 1758 and hence by descent at Blair Atholl, Scotland
S. Haag, (ed.), exh. cat.
Spiel! Kurzweil in Renaissance und Barock, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and Ambras castle in Innsbruck, Vienna, 2016, pp. 88-89, cat. no. 3.3; G. Laue,
The Kunstkammer. Wonders are collectible. Kunstkammer Edition, vol. 1, Munich, 2016, pp. 52-53, p. 116, cat. no. 27, fig. 35
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and Innsbruck, Sammlungen Schloß Ambras,
Spiel! Kurzweil in Renaissance und Barock, June 16-October 2, 2016