The Lewis Chessmen

Davyleaves I can only do a short blog because I'm rushing to finish off An Unlikely Countess before leaving for a month in North America next Wednesday. My first stop will be the new readers' conference, RomCon, in Denver. If you're in the area  you may want to check out the events. There are day tickets and a book signing.

At the end of the month I'll be at RWA in Orlando, or to be more precise, Disneyworld. 🙂 There's a big signing there, too. In the middle of my trip I'll be blogging from Toronto, so who knows what I'll have to share?

Caravaggio13 I'm constantly amazed at the programs on BBC Radio 4. This morning a caught a bit about the Anglo-Saxon ruler, Athelstan, and just now, something about Caravaggio. Excuse to share the almost naked young Sean Bean from our infamous "naked blog" a few years back. It's from a film about the artist.

For some time now, BBC 4 has been running The History of The World In 100 objects, (from the British Museum) which is always interesting. One of this weChessqueenek's programmes was on the Lewis Chessmen.

You can see them here on the BBC web site, but here's one line drawings   This is the queen. The website says she looks worried about the weather, but to me that's the precise pose of a woman seeing a disaster. We see it again and again in pictures of warzones, natural disasters and such. I don't know why we do it, but it seems universal. That's an example of how the chess pieces capture humanity.

C7368w 'Lord of My Heart' Avon, front cover I first really paid attention to them when I was writing Lord of My Heart, my first medieval, where the hero is torn between Norman and English heritage. The Lewis Chessmen seemed to say a lot about the culture of the time, and especially war. That's the original cover.

You can listen to the 15 minute segment on the Lewis Chessmen at the above page, or read the transcript here. There's a lot of interesting information about chess around the world, including changes in the queen.

You can listen to, or download, back segments. If you do, please comment below on any you find particularly interesting.

You could also look at the items shared by the public. Click here. Do you have anything you'd share as reflecting a moment in time?

J3566at A 16th century house in Barnard Castle I hope you're having a wonderful summer. Here's a picture of a 16th century in Barnard Castle, a town in County Durham. (Not Durham County. One of those English oddities!) We visited friends there recently, and also checked out Darlington and Northallerton, which play a part in An Unlikely Countess.

Jo

60 thoughts on “The Lewis Chessmen”

  1. Hi Jo, I just took time to look at the BBC site of the Lewis Chessmen. The craftsmanship was superb (although I think the Queen looks fed up with something, probably the King!).

    Reply
  2. Hi Jo, I just took time to look at the BBC site of the Lewis Chessmen. The craftsmanship was superb (although I think the Queen looks fed up with something, probably the King!).

    Reply
  3. Hi Jo, I just took time to look at the BBC site of the Lewis Chessmen. The craftsmanship was superb (although I think the Queen looks fed up with something, probably the King!).

    Reply
  4. Hi Jo, I just took time to look at the BBC site of the Lewis Chessmen. The craftsmanship was superb (although I think the Queen looks fed up with something, probably the King!).

    Reply
  5. Hi Jo, I just took time to look at the BBC site of the Lewis Chessmen. The craftsmanship was superb (although I think the Queen looks fed up with something, probably the King!).

    Reply
  6. I thought about seeing if you’d like to meet for coffee when you’re in Toronto, but seeing as it’s a five hour drive and that’s the closest you’ll be to me…
    *sigh*
    I saw a reproduction set of those a few years ago that I really wanted however…even at reproduction prices the cost was prohibitive. They really are fascinating little things, aren’t they?

    Reply
  7. I thought about seeing if you’d like to meet for coffee when you’re in Toronto, but seeing as it’s a five hour drive and that’s the closest you’ll be to me…
    *sigh*
    I saw a reproduction set of those a few years ago that I really wanted however…even at reproduction prices the cost was prohibitive. They really are fascinating little things, aren’t they?

    Reply
  8. I thought about seeing if you’d like to meet for coffee when you’re in Toronto, but seeing as it’s a five hour drive and that’s the closest you’ll be to me…
    *sigh*
    I saw a reproduction set of those a few years ago that I really wanted however…even at reproduction prices the cost was prohibitive. They really are fascinating little things, aren’t they?

    Reply
  9. I thought about seeing if you’d like to meet for coffee when you’re in Toronto, but seeing as it’s a five hour drive and that’s the closest you’ll be to me…
    *sigh*
    I saw a reproduction set of those a few years ago that I really wanted however…even at reproduction prices the cost was prohibitive. They really are fascinating little things, aren’t they?

    Reply
  10. I thought about seeing if you’d like to meet for coffee when you’re in Toronto, but seeing as it’s a five hour drive and that’s the closest you’ll be to me…
    *sigh*
    I saw a reproduction set of those a few years ago that I really wanted however…even at reproduction prices the cost was prohibitive. They really are fascinating little things, aren’t they?

    Reply
  11. Great, Kim.:)
    Theo, they are lovely, aren’t they, but reproduction sets are expensive. Amazing that they were found, and that new things are found all the time.
    Metal detectors won’t find things like this, so there could be all sorts!
    Jo

    Reply
  12. Great, Kim.:)
    Theo, they are lovely, aren’t they, but reproduction sets are expensive. Amazing that they were found, and that new things are found all the time.
    Metal detectors won’t find things like this, so there could be all sorts!
    Jo

    Reply
  13. Great, Kim.:)
    Theo, they are lovely, aren’t they, but reproduction sets are expensive. Amazing that they were found, and that new things are found all the time.
    Metal detectors won’t find things like this, so there could be all sorts!
    Jo

    Reply
  14. Great, Kim.:)
    Theo, they are lovely, aren’t they, but reproduction sets are expensive. Amazing that they were found, and that new things are found all the time.
    Metal detectors won’t find things like this, so there could be all sorts!
    Jo

    Reply
  15. Great, Kim.:)
    Theo, they are lovely, aren’t they, but reproduction sets are expensive. Amazing that they were found, and that new things are found all the time.
    Metal detectors won’t find things like this, so there could be all sorts!
    Jo

    Reply
  16. I’d love to be able to see some of the TV programs you mention. I wonder if any of them will be or have been shown on CBC Doc Channel, History TV or anywhere else available here–not that I can get any of these at the moment. However, I’d pay extra for these programs because I’m a real history buff. Most of the programs I watch are news or documentaries anyway. But there’s not much scintillating fare available on the lowest level. I’ll certainly have a look at some of the sites you mention, but not just now. It’s 04.04 A.M.
    Goodnight all.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Reply
  17. I’d love to be able to see some of the TV programs you mention. I wonder if any of them will be or have been shown on CBC Doc Channel, History TV or anywhere else available here–not that I can get any of these at the moment. However, I’d pay extra for these programs because I’m a real history buff. Most of the programs I watch are news or documentaries anyway. But there’s not much scintillating fare available on the lowest level. I’ll certainly have a look at some of the sites you mention, but not just now. It’s 04.04 A.M.
    Goodnight all.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Reply
  18. I’d love to be able to see some of the TV programs you mention. I wonder if any of them will be or have been shown on CBC Doc Channel, History TV or anywhere else available here–not that I can get any of these at the moment. However, I’d pay extra for these programs because I’m a real history buff. Most of the programs I watch are news or documentaries anyway. But there’s not much scintillating fare available on the lowest level. I’ll certainly have a look at some of the sites you mention, but not just now. It’s 04.04 A.M.
    Goodnight all.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Reply
  19. I’d love to be able to see some of the TV programs you mention. I wonder if any of them will be or have been shown on CBC Doc Channel, History TV or anywhere else available here–not that I can get any of these at the moment. However, I’d pay extra for these programs because I’m a real history buff. Most of the programs I watch are news or documentaries anyway. But there’s not much scintillating fare available on the lowest level. I’ll certainly have a look at some of the sites you mention, but not just now. It’s 04.04 A.M.
    Goodnight all.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Reply
  20. I’d love to be able to see some of the TV programs you mention. I wonder if any of them will be or have been shown on CBC Doc Channel, History TV or anywhere else available here–not that I can get any of these at the moment. However, I’d pay extra for these programs because I’m a real history buff. Most of the programs I watch are news or documentaries anyway. But there’s not much scintillating fare available on the lowest level. I’ll certainly have a look at some of the sites you mention, but not just now. It’s 04.04 A.M.
    Goodnight all.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Reply
  21. Nice to see a photo of Barnard Castle, Jo. I went to a very small primary school in a little village near there. There were only eighteen pupils and the school had no electricity! We had a hissing Tilly lamp in the school room, otherwise it was paraffin lamps and we took candles to light us up to bed!
    No wonder I became an historical novelist!

    Reply
  22. Nice to see a photo of Barnard Castle, Jo. I went to a very small primary school in a little village near there. There were only eighteen pupils and the school had no electricity! We had a hissing Tilly lamp in the school room, otherwise it was paraffin lamps and we took candles to light us up to bed!
    No wonder I became an historical novelist!

    Reply
  23. Nice to see a photo of Barnard Castle, Jo. I went to a very small primary school in a little village near there. There were only eighteen pupils and the school had no electricity! We had a hissing Tilly lamp in the school room, otherwise it was paraffin lamps and we took candles to light us up to bed!
    No wonder I became an historical novelist!

    Reply
  24. Nice to see a photo of Barnard Castle, Jo. I went to a very small primary school in a little village near there. There were only eighteen pupils and the school had no electricity! We had a hissing Tilly lamp in the school room, otherwise it was paraffin lamps and we took candles to light us up to bed!
    No wonder I became an historical novelist!

    Reply
  25. Nice to see a photo of Barnard Castle, Jo. I went to a very small primary school in a little village near there. There were only eighteen pupils and the school had no electricity! We had a hissing Tilly lamp in the school room, otherwise it was paraffin lamps and we took candles to light us up to bed!
    No wonder I became an historical novelist!

    Reply
  26. I totally agree, Jo, that you get some gems on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC 4 on the television too. The recent series on eighteenth century cariactures was superb. Thank you so much for posting this. The Lewis Chessmen are a fascinating insight into the culture of the period.

    Reply
  27. I totally agree, Jo, that you get some gems on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC 4 on the television too. The recent series on eighteenth century cariactures was superb. Thank you so much for posting this. The Lewis Chessmen are a fascinating insight into the culture of the period.

    Reply
  28. I totally agree, Jo, that you get some gems on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC 4 on the television too. The recent series on eighteenth century cariactures was superb. Thank you so much for posting this. The Lewis Chessmen are a fascinating insight into the culture of the period.

    Reply
  29. I totally agree, Jo, that you get some gems on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC 4 on the television too. The recent series on eighteenth century cariactures was superb. Thank you so much for posting this. The Lewis Chessmen are a fascinating insight into the culture of the period.

    Reply
  30. I totally agree, Jo, that you get some gems on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC 4 on the television too. The recent series on eighteenth century cariactures was superb. Thank you so much for posting this. The Lewis Chessmen are a fascinating insight into the culture of the period.

    Reply
  31. I’d forgotten all about the near-naked Sean Bean photo. The fact that I comment first on that rather than the chessman doesn’t speak well for my higher self.
    The chessman are pretty fabulous, though. A friend told me about this series, and once I figure out how to download the segments, it’s onto a CD so I can listen in my car.

    Reply
  32. I’d forgotten all about the near-naked Sean Bean photo. The fact that I comment first on that rather than the chessman doesn’t speak well for my higher self.
    The chessman are pretty fabulous, though. A friend told me about this series, and once I figure out how to download the segments, it’s onto a CD so I can listen in my car.

    Reply
  33. I’d forgotten all about the near-naked Sean Bean photo. The fact that I comment first on that rather than the chessman doesn’t speak well for my higher self.
    The chessman are pretty fabulous, though. A friend told me about this series, and once I figure out how to download the segments, it’s onto a CD so I can listen in my car.

    Reply
  34. I’d forgotten all about the near-naked Sean Bean photo. The fact that I comment first on that rather than the chessman doesn’t speak well for my higher self.
    The chessman are pretty fabulous, though. A friend told me about this series, and once I figure out how to download the segments, it’s onto a CD so I can listen in my car.

    Reply
  35. I’d forgotten all about the near-naked Sean Bean photo. The fact that I comment first on that rather than the chessman doesn’t speak well for my higher self.
    The chessman are pretty fabulous, though. A friend told me about this series, and once I figure out how to download the segments, it’s onto a CD so I can listen in my car.

    Reply
  36. Fascinating post, Jo. I look forward to seeing the programs here — we get most BBC programs eventually. I don’t play chess, but I really love chess pieces and the various styles and forms they come in.
    Mary Jo, I don’t blame you in the least for commenting on the Sean Bean pic — I clicked on it before I even read the post. And it made me reflect on how we see so few near naked men who aren’t pumped up and heavy with muscle. It’s a pleasure to see a lean and lanky man for a change.

    Reply
  37. Fascinating post, Jo. I look forward to seeing the programs here — we get most BBC programs eventually. I don’t play chess, but I really love chess pieces and the various styles and forms they come in.
    Mary Jo, I don’t blame you in the least for commenting on the Sean Bean pic — I clicked on it before I even read the post. And it made me reflect on how we see so few near naked men who aren’t pumped up and heavy with muscle. It’s a pleasure to see a lean and lanky man for a change.

    Reply
  38. Fascinating post, Jo. I look forward to seeing the programs here — we get most BBC programs eventually. I don’t play chess, but I really love chess pieces and the various styles and forms they come in.
    Mary Jo, I don’t blame you in the least for commenting on the Sean Bean pic — I clicked on it before I even read the post. And it made me reflect on how we see so few near naked men who aren’t pumped up and heavy with muscle. It’s a pleasure to see a lean and lanky man for a change.

    Reply
  39. Fascinating post, Jo. I look forward to seeing the programs here — we get most BBC programs eventually. I don’t play chess, but I really love chess pieces and the various styles and forms they come in.
    Mary Jo, I don’t blame you in the least for commenting on the Sean Bean pic — I clicked on it before I even read the post. And it made me reflect on how we see so few near naked men who aren’t pumped up and heavy with muscle. It’s a pleasure to see a lean and lanky man for a change.

    Reply
  40. Fascinating post, Jo. I look forward to seeing the programs here — we get most BBC programs eventually. I don’t play chess, but I really love chess pieces and the various styles and forms they come in.
    Mary Jo, I don’t blame you in the least for commenting on the Sean Bean pic — I clicked on it before I even read the post. And it made me reflect on how we see so few near naked men who aren’t pumped up and heavy with muscle. It’s a pleasure to see a lean and lanky man for a change.

    Reply
  41. The History of the World programs are radio, not TV, and are up as podcasts on the BBC Radio 4 website. I think they can be downloaded anywhere.
    I wish they’d group them together so it’d be easier to download a bunch of them for listening.
    Good idea to check out all their podcasts, really. The Athelstan one’s still up there, I think.
    Jo

    Reply
  42. The History of the World programs are radio, not TV, and are up as podcasts on the BBC Radio 4 website. I think they can be downloaded anywhere.
    I wish they’d group them together so it’d be easier to download a bunch of them for listening.
    Good idea to check out all their podcasts, really. The Athelstan one’s still up there, I think.
    Jo

    Reply
  43. The History of the World programs are radio, not TV, and are up as podcasts on the BBC Radio 4 website. I think they can be downloaded anywhere.
    I wish they’d group them together so it’d be easier to download a bunch of them for listening.
    Good idea to check out all their podcasts, really. The Athelstan one’s still up there, I think.
    Jo

    Reply
  44. The History of the World programs are radio, not TV, and are up as podcasts on the BBC Radio 4 website. I think they can be downloaded anywhere.
    I wish they’d group them together so it’d be easier to download a bunch of them for listening.
    Good idea to check out all their podcasts, really. The Athelstan one’s still up there, I think.
    Jo

    Reply
  45. The History of the World programs are radio, not TV, and are up as podcasts on the BBC Radio 4 website. I think they can be downloaded anywhere.
    I wish they’d group them together so it’d be easier to download a bunch of them for listening.
    Good idea to check out all their podcasts, really. The Athelstan one’s still up there, I think.
    Jo

    Reply
  46. Just popping on to add…
    I FINALLY got the picture of Sean Bean to open. Good thing or I’d have been drooling too much to comment on the chessmen earlier…

    Reply
  47. Just popping on to add…
    I FINALLY got the picture of Sean Bean to open. Good thing or I’d have been drooling too much to comment on the chessmen earlier…

    Reply
  48. Just popping on to add…
    I FINALLY got the picture of Sean Bean to open. Good thing or I’d have been drooling too much to comment on the chessmen earlier…

    Reply
  49. Just popping on to add…
    I FINALLY got the picture of Sean Bean to open. Good thing or I’d have been drooling too much to comment on the chessmen earlier…

    Reply
  50. Just popping on to add…
    I FINALLY got the picture of Sean Bean to open. Good thing or I’d have been drooling too much to comment on the chessmen earlier…

    Reply

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