Studio Anne Carlton’s (SAC) origins date back to 1969 when Anne Finestein created her first chess set for architect husband David, an avid chess player. This first set was greatly admired by many of David’s friend and requests for copies came in from chess enthusiasts all over the country. In fact, the demand was such that Anne moved her factory from a small garden shed into an old fish smoking house on Flinton Street in Hull where production facilities could be developed.

By 1979 Studio Anne Carlton Ltd had become a major force in the games industry, with many innovative products and ideas. In the early 1980s, the company was acquired by Clayhithe Plc with the intention of taking it forward and expanding into gift and leisure. A 22,000 sq ft factory was built on the Hull site.

In 2003 the company was sold to Traditional Games and most of their manufacturing was moved to China with the UK factory being closed but all design and development remained in the UK. This did not work well for the company and in 2014 Ancestors’ Group acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute the SAC range of decorative sets and classic games together with all the design rights and originals of all the surviving models and moved production to their own UK factory in Folkestone, UK where all the themed chess sets are now made with love, care and attention. All production of the chess set pieces is now in the UK and a far superior product is now produced.

The experience that Studio Anne Carlton has acquired since 1969 in the design and manufacture of chess sets is unrivalled and the reputation without question. You can purchase with the knowledge that you are buying from the best who have been supplying for decades to places like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and numerous prestigious places throughout the world.

We have searched the world over many years for the best wood craftsmen who have the skills to produce exquisite marquetry. Our search was over a few years ago and we found a wonderful old family business in Europe to work as our partners and now we have the most magnificent range of chess boards and backgammon sets that are all handmade using ancient traditional skills that we initially believed had been long forgotten – how wrong we were – as now we bring our collection to you. Each piece of wood has been stored for many years to ensure it has slowly dried and will therefore not twist or crack. It is meticulously and precisely cut so that it will take the fine hand cut marquetry design. Once the marquetry has been set and sealed and pieces assembled they are all sanded by hand then sealed and sanded, vanished and sanded a minimum of three coats of varnish is applied and each time sanded by hand. At each stage, the pieces are inspected for perfection. A final inspection is made prior to them being carefully packed into our own special Studio Anne Carlton padded strong handmade bags to enable the pieces to be keep damaged free and safe for generations.