Two enormous Tulip Poplar trees flanked Monticello’s lawn portico for a full 200 years. Planted by Thomas Jefferson in 1807, the southwest tree succumbed to old age in 2008 and was removed. The northwest sister tree was removed in 2011 when it showed signs of illness and leaned dangerously toward the house. Virginia woodworker Kirk McCauley is one of several local artisans The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has entrusted to honor the beauty and historic significance of these majestic trees. He pursues his passion for hand turned wood artwork in North Garden Virginia, and is a member of the Central Virginia Woodturners and American Association of Woodturners.
The chess pieces in this exquisite one-of-a-kind set are hand turned from Tulip Poplar, carefully detailed and smoothly polished. Each piece is signed and dated. The king stands 4 ¼” tall.
The design of the chessmen is very similar to a chess set displayed in Monticello’s Parlor. Family tradition suggests that Jefferson was a keen chess player. He taught the game to his granddaughter Ellen, and they sometimes played outside under the trees in the summertime. Chess board sold separately.