Curious Objects: All About Amber, with Laura Kugel

Editorial Staff Curious Objects

Amber, silver, and silver gilt gamesboard with chess pieces, draughtsmen, and two dice, Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), c. 1680–1690. Photograph courtesy of Galerie Kugel, Paris / Guillaume Benoit.

Amber gameboards became very popular in northern Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and the subject of this week’s episode represents the very best of type. A symphony of richly figured amber, silver, and silver gilt, the Danzig-made board was used to play chess and the ancient Roman strategy game today known as Three Men’s Morris. It’s one of many amber objects d’art from the Baltic region on display at the redoubtable Galerie Kugel in Paris for the exhibition Amber: Treasures from the BalticCurious Objects host Benjamin Miller gets an inside look at how such curios were crafted, and the lore that surrounds the gameboard’s decorative themes and provenance, courtesy of Laura Kugel, sixth generation dealer at the family-owned and -operated gallery.

Laura Kugel is Deputy Director at historic Parisian antiquaire Galerie Kugel, sixth generation in the family business.