The Lewis Chessmen

I think these are the coolest chess-people ever invented:


Vikings. About 900 years old, discovered (some say by a cow) in a remote Scottish isle, about 200 year ago.

golden ratio chess

Documentary here:

The Lewis Chessmen – seemingly originating from Trondheim, Norway in the 12th Century. 93 of them – which would tend to suggest they belonged to someone trading them… or delivering a commission, rather than being someone’s personal gaming-set. 93 is quite a lot for chess, even in 12th Century Norway.

Still – my best friend at school had a repro set of these chess pieces back in the day. These little people have been a presence in my life for a long long time.

So anyway:



Which I think looks pretty convincing. Ordinarily you can take “examples of the golden mean in art that feature the human body” with a massive grain of salt with regards “was it consciously used?” – because the human body DOES contain quite a lot of instances of the golden mean – so it would show up a fair bit.

These are quite heavily stylized though – so the coincidences are a little more stretched.

I’d still be mildly surprised if it was a conscious design decision though (although the documentary says it’s a fusion of Viking and Roman styles)… I’d say that the artist just had a really good eye.

Still there it is – I thought it was quite interesting – and these chess pieces are amazing, regardless.

Recent Posts

Wake me up when it’s 2020

Okay, it's 2020 now I guess. [br]I've been making Golden Mean Calipers for about 10 years now. [br]In 2019 I wrote 2 blog posts... that's not enough to achieve the various purposes of writing blog posts, among which are: [br]- to learn what you think [br]- to show people you're still alive [br]- to show google (et al) you're still…
click here for more.

Golden Mean Caliper Comparison Chart

I thought it might be useful for people to be able to compare all the calipers on the one page, so I made a comparison chart. CaliperDescriptionSmallest measurementLargest measurementPrice (USD)Most often used by Small Calipers 120mm or 4.5" high - smallest of the 3-armed calipers 9.5mm or .37" 189mm or 7.5" $35 Beauticians Artists working with detail, or smaller pieces…
click here for more.

Demo of Golden Ratio in Artistic Composition (fairly disorganised)

Over the years, I've built up a collection of Golden Ratio Calipers... and I decided it might be quite useful for people if I made a video comparing them. Some of them are really good - some terrible. So I set up my camera... and found that my video-space looked a bit bare... needed a painting. So I decided to…
click here for more.

Why The Golden Ratio Works For Flowers

Fairly amazing video going into the maths of why flowers (and pine-cones, relative leaf positions etc) are so often based fibonacci numbers. And it's fairly amazing because I actually understood it. It's been a loooong time since I tangled with quadratic equations, but (on the 2nd watch) this did actually make sense to me. I always thought that with…
click here for more.

Limited Run : Neon Colour Range I was tinkering with these colours a while back... and then someone with exceptional taste and style made a big order for a whole range of coloured ones... and every one was all "ooh!!!" So I made some for the local art gallery - and they all sold as well. So I made enquiries about getting a lot more…
click here for more.

New Product Videos

I'm putting together a series of product videos... one for each of the 10 or so different calipers that I make. [br]They will all look kindof the same... they're mainly for embedding in shop pages and so on. Because they'll all look kindof the same, I've made a separate youtube channel so subscribers don't lose their minds with boredom.…
click here for more.
Select your currency
EUR Euro