Long Lawrence specimens

Long Lawrence (collection of Matthias Hoschek)

Following up on my recent article on the history of the English stick die called Long Lawrence, here a few examples both from private collectors and a public museum. Modern reproductions are readily available, and at least some of them seem connected to either antiquarian interests or historical reenactment. Older specimens are much harder to find.

Modern reproductions

The reproduction Culin had made for the Museum of Archaeology (Univ. of Pennsylvania) was already mentioned, below the image is shown again. An actual photograph of the stick die is not available.1 The reproduction was based on the report by Alice Bertha Gomme (1894), which in turn relied on the description by Alfred Easther in the Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield (1883, see the blog post linked above for details). The image of Culin’s reproduction (1895) was rotated and re-used in another of Culin’s publications (1898):

Kevin Cook (per Guinness world record the owner of the world’s largest dice collection) has both a four-sided2 and an eight-sided3 Long Lawrence, reproductions by Gothic Green Oak, based on 19th century descriptions (which in all likelihood means Gomme and Easther). Wooden reproductions of the four-sided type seem to be available by several online retailers.4

Older specimens

Older specimens seem to be much more rare. Here’s the bronze Long Lawrence, eight-sided, in the collection of Matthias Hoschek.5

There’s a four-sided Long Lawrence made from bone in the collection of Thomas Dougall. It’s hard to see in the image, but Thomas says there are traces of an attempt by a previous owner to clean the die (residue, some sort of white cream in the pores).

Then there’s an interesting example from the Wakefield Museum Collections (Toys and Games: Item number: 1992.3450): Dice, metal octagonal gaming dice. It is dated to the first half of the 20th century. It looks like one half of the eight-sided die has Long Lawrence markings (visible in the photo are the crosses, the single strokes, and the zigzag line). The face with the single strokes is marked on its other half with the number 50 three times. The other face halves might be empty, or the photograph simply might not show traces of the marks well enough. I’ve asked the museum about the die, but due to a large-scale collections move project they won’t be able to answer for the next weeks.

I am interested to see more examples of Long Lawrence dice, particularly old ones. If you have information or own such original dice yourself, and would be willing to share details with me, I’d be thrilled. With your permission I would also update this page to include images of your dice. To get in touch you can either write a comment to this post, or contact me directly (see the information in the impressum).

  1. See the museum’s web page for Culin’s Long Lawrence. []
  2. Four-sided wooden Long Lawrence, reproduction by Gothic Green Oak in the collection of Kevin Cook []
  3. Eight-sided wooden Long Lawrence, reproduction by Gothic Green Oak in the collection of Kevin Cook []
  4. E.g. from the British “Historic Games Shop []
  5. Cf. Hoschek’s homepage and this Facebook album of his []

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