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The Unique Chess Pieces

Van Leyden's Famous Painting

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A Finely Detailed Recreation
of van Leyden's Courier Chess Set

courier game - kurrier - renaissance - medieval - 8 by 12 - chess players - chess match - kurierschachspiel - chess variants - ancient chess

To recreate these ancient chessmen, we want to pull the pieces out of the shadows of van Leyden's painting. Carefully comparing images, using knowledge of the game, we make them anew in full 3-dimensional form.

The game in the foreground turns out to be no mere prop, but an instructive presentation of the game itself. Studying the picture carefully, we see that each piece is deliberately represented, some more than once, and some at various angles.

After analyzing the position and the identities of the pieces, and comparing the various renditions of each piece, we have selected a representative of each one, imagined it as a whole piece, defined what its form and measurements must have been – and finally reconstructed it as faithfully as possible.

The result is a chess set so true to the painting that one can imagine the painting was made from these very pieces. One can step right into the painting and play the game.

The pieces in the painting:

sketches defining the forms:

The pieces recreated:

Chess Collectors International Article

In March, 2009, an article appeared in The Chess Collector — the official magazine of Chess Collector International, discussing courier chess in detail, and referring to this new re-creation. You can download the full illustrated article (in PDF form) by clicking this link.

The Courier Chess Reproduction

I already purchased one of your sets and I love it!
It exceeded my expectations. I hope you can continue
producing these sets, you're doing a valuable service
making this extinct game available again.

________________________________________________ Jeff S. of Everett, Washington, USA

The complete set of 48 pieces stand between ¾ inch and 2 ¼ inches tall (1.8 ~ 6 cm), the same size of those depicted in van Leyden’s painting.
Hand crafted in Riverside, California, made of solid resin, steel reinforced where needed and hand detailed to recreate the 500-year-old painting as closely as possible.
They are felted for comfort in play, and protection of the board.
This copyrighted reproduction is available only through, selling as rickofricks on eBay.

Since the first production of in 2008, additional versions of the chessmen and board have been created. See the link below for currently available sets.

The board measures 19 ¾ by 13 ¾ inches; ½ inch thick (35 by 50 by 1.25 cm), just like the one depicted in van Leyden’s painting.
The playing surface is a photographic image of a fine hand-painted German beech wood replica – likely materials for van Leyden’s original subject. It is reproduced here fixed to sturdy fiberwood board (MDF).

A quality print, the same size as the original painting, is included (details below).

Further productions are being developed. Check our listings for fine brass sets and hand made boards.

The illustrated rule booklet clearly lays out the original rules of play with diagrams, pictures and explanations.

To see this and further Courier Chess listings, select the link below.


Any Questions?

Quality Print of Lucas van Leyden's Painting

Original size: The image is reproduced in the same size as the original painting:
10.6 x 13.8 inches (27 x 35 cm). Including the border, this print measures 12 x 18 inches (30.5 x 45.7 cm).

Restored: Scrapes and damages have been carefully removed, restoring this painting to its original beauty.

Fine quality: The image is finely detailed, printed with a glossy finish on a firm 10 point paper (about the thickness of a standard card stock).