Lyon Sets

The Lyon style games had a very short life period – in that respect similar to the Directoire style. We can estimate the origin of “Lyon” style sets  after the reign of Louis XIV, at the beginning of the great fashion of chess in France. It disappeared during the revolution; Lyon type chessmen from the XIXth century do not seem to exist.

Little is known about the tabletterie in Lyon and its surroundings. In Lyon itself, the memories of Pierre Erard, carpenter, cabinetmaker and tablet maker of 1791 are one of the rare testimonies that gives us some indications on the productions of the time (Part Dieu Library, old silo collection). The peculiarities of games in Lyon style are on the one hand the characteristic balustrades, the shape of the crowns of the queen and the king and a rare peculiarity for some of them that is the combination of wood and bone or ivory. While the Directoire games were produced in mass and can be identical when they come from the same tabletterie, the Lyon style games are all different because produced by different craftsmen. It is enough to see the variants like the inverted style, the games all in ivory or bone, the drawing of the horses or towers to understand that the context of production is different, with nevertheless a certain coordination at the level of the corporation or the buyers.

The aesthetic quality of the Lyon style makes more than once collector happy today, including the fact that these sets are rare. Overall research regarding objective elements to locate, in time, the different games in relation to each other is rare.

Lyon Style 

Example of Lyon-style set. Source: CCI France. 

Lyon Style 

Example of Lyon-style set. Source: CCI France. 

Lyon Style 

Attractive design due to the bone trimmings and finials.  King and queen with a stylised crown and coronet.  Source: CCI France.