“Directoire”  (France)

"Directoire" is the name we use today for the sets with abstract knights that, historically, can be placed between and along the "Encyclopedia" and "Régence" sets. These sets do give a lot of misunderstanding about the Knights and Bishops. The source of this is the encyclopedia of Diderot/D'Alembert where drawing and associated text don't match. It says that the taller piece is the Knight ("Cavalier") and the piece with triangular collar is the Bishop ("Fou"). But it says also that the pieces in the drawing are standing in place. Both cannot be true simultaneously, but what is wrong? Some mean that the indication Cavalier and Fou is wrong. However more logic to me (and others) is that the statement of the place is wrong, because such mistake is easier made and overlooked (place is said for all pieces) and in old "Régence" sets you see Bishops with triangular or cut collar like you see in "Directoire" sets. So I treat the taller piece as Knight and the cut collar piece as Bishop in "Directoire" sets. But in real live the sets were often used with swapped Knights and Bishops I suppose.

"Directoire" sets have been made from beginning of the 18th century until the end of it. Those days it could be a cheaper alternative for the "Régence" sets, because the knights don't need to be carved. Today it is opposite, because of the rarity.

The first "Directoire" set displayed here is early to mid 18th century and does still have the original box. Only a few of these boxes survived. Not many complete sets as well.

« 1 of 6 »
  • France, "Directoire"
  • Early to mid 18th century
  • Boxwood and rosewood K 9.1; p 5.2
  • Box 15.0×8.8×8.6
« 1 of 4 »
  • France, "Directoire"
  • Mid to late 18th century
  • Ivory + ebony K 8.5; p 5.5
  • Box 17.4×11.4×6.2 (not pictured)
« 1 of 3 »
  • France, "Directoire"
  • Late 18th century
  • Boxwood K 8.3; p 4.5