24 August 2014

Chess Chaperones

In previous centuries, what did young lovers do when they were together? According to this current edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, they played chess. At least, that is, while parents were sitting next to them.

The image below was titled 'Large Original 19th Century Oil Painting of Lovers Playing Chess on a Train' and subtitled 'James Stephenson Craig (exb.1840-1870) Royal Academy'. It sold for GBP 413.99 ('approximately US $686.00' according to eBay) after receiving 17 bids from 11 bidders.

The description added,

This is a large and very charming original 19th century oil on canvas of a Victorian couple chaperoning their daughter and her young suitor, by the listed Scottish artist, James Stephenson Craig (exb.1840-1870). The four figures in the painting sit in the first class carriage of a 19th century steam train as it travels along the Scottish coast. Whilst the parents read, the young couple bide their time with 'A Game of Strategy’. This lovely work is signed with initials to the lower left.

A very popular painter of gently suggestive Victorian romantic scenes, James Stephenson Craig exhibited three works at the Royal Academy, seven at the British Institution, and twelve at the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists.

Measurement (canvas only): 80cm x 65cm (31½” x 25½”)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Provenance: Fine Private Collection of Home Counti's Estate
Condition: Very good. Framed, professionally cleaned, relined and restored. Ready to hang.

I was surprised to learn that chess chaperoning is a 21st century occupation, as in 'Sign up to chaperone chess club sessions'. No fooling around at chess club!

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