Chess sheep

Chess is not a game I ever really got the hang of.

I vaguely remember being taught how to play it when I was small, but it was a bit too cerebral for my liking. I was more of a draughts/noughts and crosses/hangman sort of child.

Recently, in a gallery (which was also a tearoom, and I admit that I went there more for the comestibles than the artwork) I saw something that renewed my interest in chess.

Perhaps if I’d been taught chess with these little chaps I would remember now how to play it. (Apologies for the glare, they were behind glass.)


The board and sheep pieces are needlefelt and the whole delightful lot could be yours for the bargain price of £135.

I especially like the bishops.


38 thoughts on “Chess sheep

  1. That is the cutest chess set I’ve ever seen! I love the bishops, too, they seem to have a similar expression to the Lewis chessmen – in my mind, anyway! 🙂 I can’t play chess either – someone tried to teach me when I was about 9 or 10, but nothing sank in.

    • I know what you mean, Jo, there’s a similarly appealing look about them. I feel I ought to be able to play chess but I would be really struggling to remember how to do it now.

  2. I tried to learn chess a long time ago but it didn’t take with me either. However, I have a very real fascination with the art of chessboards and pieces. There are some incredible sets out there, and I could look at those all day. Love these little guys! What a wonderful, whimsical perspective on a game that seems so …NOT whimsical.

  3. I can’t play chess either – well, I could if someone coached me through a game, I have played it before and am sure I could again. I’d quite like to be good at it. Like you probably, I’m quite wicked at draughts though. Cute sheep. Here we are indoctrinated (not quite really) from small children that we have x number of sheep to humans – allegedly the most sheep in the world – so it is a slight shock to realise that other countries have sheep too 🙂 a good lesson that travel (even virtual travel) broadens the mind 🙂 I like the idea of a gallery with tea. I have a bee in my bonnet at the moment regarding libraries and comestibles. In a way, you can see why they don’t, but couldn’t it be wonderful if they did? I only know of one that does.

    • Your claim to ownership of the world’s sheep is perfectly understandable. I think of them as being a Scottish institution, although New Zealand outclasses Scotland in sheep numbers by a staggering number. I’m with you on the tea and libraries question. My local library recently installed a hot drinks machine, so that you can slurp a beverage while perusing a book, which is good although not as good as a tearoom. I don’t know what proportion of drinking readers would spill their drinks while reading in the library but it’s clear to me from regularly taking out library books that they’re not incapable of spilling things on them at home. I confess I’ve probably done it myself, I’ve certainly smeared chocolate on a book page before (inadvertently).

  4. I never learnt how to play chess , in fact , I’m not keen on any board but if someone had shown me that delightful chess set I would be willing learn. Are they hand made or mass produced Lorna ? Just wondered . Don’t you find some great places for tea . Have you sacked the delightful assistants or are they on a well earned rest ?

    • Who wouldn’t be keen to learn chess with these delightful little chaps? This is the only chess set of needlefelt sheep that I’ve ever seen, and I imagine it’s a one-off. It was in an art gallery full of other unique works so I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t another one like it. The delightful assistants could never be sacked, but I’m pleased to report that they’re fit and well and will no doubt reappear on this blog in due course.

    • They do, I agree. I would have liked to have a little play with them but they were in a glass cabinet, which is probably just as well or they might be looking rather the worse for wear. I hope they go to a good home.

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