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Studio Ann Carlton – Supplier Profile

Even a chess set can take you places if it is manufactured like a work of art. SAC chess sets are a sight to behold. The UK based company is world famous for their amazingly themed chess sets. The fact that their most famous products are licensed was enough for us to choose them as one of our suppliers. SAC also happens to be our main suppliers for themed chess sets.

SAC – a History

SAC, or Studio Ann Carlton, was first established in 1969 in Hull, Yorkshire. Traditionally all of their products were manufactured in the UK. However, in 2003 the company was sold to Traditional Games and some of their manufacturing was moved to China, with design and development remaining in the UK. In fact, all SAC line poly resin chess sets are currently being manufactured in China while their wooden chess sets are produced in India. Needless to say, SAC chess sets literally travel the whole world before they are ready for distribution and purchase.

The quality of each set has remained intact throughout the manufacturing process. It shows too. Most of their chess sets were recently introduced and exhibit the skill and craftsmanship that is typical of the sculptures of Studio Ann Carlton.

Themed Chess Sets

Nearly all SAC products exhibit historical characters and settings. The chess sets are designed according to a broad range of themes depicting significant events in history that changed people, cultures and civilizations. Some sets are also designed around famous fictional characters and stories like Alice in Wonderland or Sherlock Holmes.

The amount of research that shows is also astounding. In fact, themed chess sets from popular fiction and media have been designed according to how they were introduced commercially. For instance, the figures from SAC’s Sherlock Holmes chess set are based on the original illustrations that appeared in the “Strand” magazine in 1890.


What makes SAC Chess Sets Special?

To say that every SAC chess set is a work of art is almost an understatement. All of the pieces are handmade and are finished with traditional brown or cream colours. Each piece is also sculpted and painted with painstaking detail. Many of the chess pieces are composed of ground stone which is in turn cast and fired thereby making SAC sets some of the most durable sets around.

A work of Heart

Unlike traditional factory made chess sets, the sculptured pieces themselves take months to complete in the hands of an SAC craftsman. Creating the chess sets has more to do with ensuring that the characters are anatomically correct from the sandaled toes to the top of a tiara. Extra care is taken to ensure historical accuracy where appropriate.   The figures are also put through various casting processes until the production moulds are created without having to lose any of the detail.

We receive a lot of orders for chess sets from this company and it is easy to see why. The timeless skill of Studio Ann Carlton artists have been refined to perfection and are enough to make the company one of our best suppliers for themed chess sets.


Published by julian

Julian Deverell is the owner and founder of the Regency Chess Company. He set the business up in 2005 and established the Regency Chess brand in 2008. He's still heavily involved in the day to day running of the business and also has involvement with some other e commerce projects that are not chess related.

6 comments on “Studio Ann Carlton – Supplier Profile”

I have one of your large oriental style chest sets , purchased around 1988, what’s the best was to see in,

hello, my father passed away some time ago and im just beginning to go through the items he left to me, one item was a sac chess set, the set is called the french revolution it comes in two colours a light brown in one half and a dark brown colour in the other half, unforchunately the light brown side one of the rooks has been broken it would be a shame not to try and replace this part as it has such sentimental value to me is there any chance you could replace this part for me i would be so very grateful, dont mind what the cost would be, look forward to hearing from you. thank you. yours roy hastings.

Hi Roy
So sorry for the late reply on this. We’ve never sold the French Revolution set from SAC, so we have no spares of it to hand I am afraid. Sorry.

The Regency Chess Co

Purchased the Harry Vardon/lady Margaret Scott chess set, probably some time in the 70 or 80’s. Can you give me a value estimate, have a collector interested in purchasing. Cannot remember what I paid.
Thank you for your help.

Hi Peter

Thank you for your comment. If you purchased the set in the 70s / 80s then it’s a UK made one (after this period they were made in China). I have no idea about the value sadly. I don’t think they are hugely valuable though. Sorry I can’t be of more use.
The Regency Chess Co

Hi, I would like some information if studio ann carlton made a marble Staunton chess set. I currently have three Studio Ann Carlton theme chess sets and enjoy them. respectfully, Doug Mcconnon please Email with any information on the Studio Ann Carlton marble chess set

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