Berkeley Chess Isle of Lewis (Red) Chessmen pieces

Berkeley Chess
Due to arrive by 30th May 2021.
(1 review)
55.00 (cm)
12.00 (cm)
30.00 (cm)
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Comprising 32 Chessmen pieces

Utilising a careful process, this range of chess sets are stained in Russet (a contemporary brown). It’s then further stained to add an antique effect. This results in an aged beautiful set that is eye catching and really stands out. They are well weighted with an improved ratio of crushed marble and resin, and then finished with a felt underlay.

Colour: Stained Red

King Height 3.5" (8.8cm)
King Base Diameter 1.75" (4.5cm)
King Weight 110g

Originally crafted from walrus ivory and whales teeth the iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces were discovered in the vicinity of Uig on the Isle of Lewis some time before 11 April 1831. The precise location seems to have been a sand dune where they may have been placed in a small, dry stone chamber. The hoard which consisted of 78 chess pieces and 15 other artifacts was initially shown at the Scottish Antiquaries Society in Edinburgh which hoped to acquire it but was unsuccessful in its fundraising efforts. The British Museum eventually acquired it between November 1831 and January 1832.

The pieces were probably made in Trondheim, Norway, about AD 1150-1200. At this period, the Western Isles, where the chess pieces were found, were part of the Kingdom of Norway, not Scotland. It seems likely they were buried for safe keeping on route to be traded in Ireland.

The chess pieces testify to the strong cultural and political connections between the kingdoms of the British Isles and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, and to the growing popularity within Europe of the game of chess, the origins of which lie in India after around 500 BC. Chess arrived in Christian Europe via the Islamic world, where the game was adapted to reflect medieval European society. Of the ninety-three pieces of this hoard known to us today, eleven pieces are in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland, and eighty-two are in the British Museum.



Based in the heart of rural Somerset in the South West of England, Berkeley Chess is the brainchild of three experienced business professionals who all have a shared passion for chess. Baron Turner, Michael Lee and Peter Kingett formed the business in early 2017 to answer the growing demand for imaginative and functional gift products which can be supplied with ultra efficiency and flexibility at realistic prices.

The company encapsulates the best of British craft manufacturing combined with innovative designs and state of the art administrative support. The result is a business supplying the most comprehensive collection of decorative chess sets to the specialist gift sector, heritage retail, online operations and mail order markets.

Utilising traditional production techniques each chess set beautifully replicates the original sculptures, painstakingly created by talented artists. 


  • 5
    Berkeley Beserkers (Red)

    Posted by Cruithneach on 25th Nov 2019

    The Isle of Lewis Chess pieces are Icons of the game, and as my mother is of the Barra McNeil's with a 94% Viking DNA representation I'm told. I was keen to have a faithful reproduction with attention to quality. That is what I got. The Berkeley Isle of Lewis Set I purchased from was easily the Best set available in my experience. The British Museum pieces look good in online photographs but having seen them in person the actual sets fall well below the Advertised Pictures like those Flat soggy Hamburgers you get after being shown a majestic Taj Mahal Bun with all the trimmings perfect.I've not seen the Scottish museum sets close so can't comment there, however I would have no hesitation in saying I was over the moon with the quality that should someone buy the Berkeley Lewis men in the Red option as the Original men were a dark red shade for Black and Ivory for White, you will be glad you did. The only advise I would give to Berkely regarding these sets is to include the Varied piece option including the different pawns for each colour and the the Shield biting Beserker Rooks/Warders as options also; but it wouldn't stop me buying them if they didn't do so.