Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reigning Cats And Dogs

My postings for the next couple of days are for my Sandpoint friends Cis and Marianne. Curiosity about my chess sets they tell me. So ladies - here we go.

The pictures for this set were taken in my pre digital stage - therefore not so good. The story is fun though. There is always a story behind the sets. And more often than not a ton of research.

This was commissioned a few years back for the then French Consulate in Vancouver, B.C. I was asked to have her cat, a Chartreux, and his dog, a Springer named Zorro, as the Kings and to just take it from there. So Zorro has his sword.

On the Cat side the Queen is a Persian because Queen Victoria was partial to Persians. The Bishops were the Birman and the Mau, sacred cats of Burma and Egypt respectively. The Knights are Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat- both big, burley guys. The rooks are mouse holes with the little guys peeking out; wall paper and wainscoting on the front; stringers, insulation and seeds behind. The pawns are balls of yarn - gold (flagpole) and blue, white and red for the French Flag.

The Queen for the dogs is a winking poodle; not French at all actually, but German in origin. The Bishops are a Saint Bernard (imagine that!) and a Saint Hubert which was the forerunner of today's Bloodhound. The Knights are a couple of not so toughs - an English Bull complete with spiked collar and a Sharpei. The Rooks are dog house facades complete with well chewed bone and muddy footprints on the floor.

The buyer being Canadian, I had to complete that side of the equation. The pawns represent the red and white Canadian flag - a red base, white tennis balls with the Maple Leaf as the logo.

This set is my big international claim to fame. The recipient, being a career diplomat, went on to become the E.U.'s representative in Bosnia and last I heard the chess set had found its way home to Paris.


Word Tosser said...

To say WOW!! is mere words... what a fantasic piece of work... WOW!!

tumblewords said...

Oh my, oh my! Interesting as can be - I've never seen anything quite like this set.