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Alexandra Llewellyn

There are plenty of ways to be creative in this world, but designing bespoke board games is not one you hear about every day. Alexandra Llewellyn travelled widely through her life, studying art in Leeds, California and Madrid. Her love of culture and aesthetic design drove her to work for Traditional Arts in London, and, in 2010, gave her the inspiration to create a board for one of the world's oldest games, backgammon. Traced back to antiquity, this incredibly traditional pastime was the perfect way to express her love of materials, with hand-crafted wooden designs featuring beautifully textured feathers, antlers, butterflies, palm trees and vintage nude images. Now stocked in prestigious locations like Harrods and Myriad, it seems that others certainly agree that a game like this transcends language and time, especially when it's so beautiful to look at.

Alexander llewellyn nudes backgammon board copy
Alexander Llewellyn 'nudes' backgammon board

Lets begin with your unusual interest - why backgammon boards? Have you always loved the game?
I was first introduced to backgammon by my Egyptian step-grandfather on the backstreets of Cairo and I have loved the game ever since. My family have always played backgammon, there is nothing better on a cold winters day than settling into the game, by a fire.

Tell us more about your background.
I am an artist and also have a background in product development.

When did you start the business?
I launched the first four designs in December 2010 at Talisman, in Pimlico. I introduced three new designs for Christmas 2011.

Do you think board games are a great way for couples to bond?
There is nothing better than playing a board game - they allow the time and space to enjoy loved ones and friends, plus beating your boyfriend is always a great feeling! It is such an enjoyable way to spend time together. The Romans even used backgammon to play a classical form of strip poker!

alexandra llewellyn bespoke peacock backgammon board
Alexandra Llewellyn 'peacock' backgammon board

Do you find it an intimate game?
Yes in that it gives you the time to hang-out with someone you love.

Are you a backgammon champ?
I adore playing backgammon, however I'm not a natural gambler - I get far too over-excited.

Who would you most like to play with? Dead or alive?
My dream opponents would be Giacometti and Coco Chanel, though she would be rather terrifying. I would also love to have a game with Tolkien.

Where do you get your inspiration for the beautiful designs?
The peacock design was inspired by backgammon's vast history, and supposed Persian roots. Derivatives of backgammon have been found from as far back as 3500 BC. Peacock feathers were always used in Persian design as a sign of royalty. The nudes reflect the roaring 30s and the glamour of casinos and night life.

Which is your favourite board?
The peacock was my first and most favourite.

How would you recommend backgammon to those who know little about it?
I always say that backgammon is the easiest game to learn and, fascinatingly, the most difficult game to conquer.

What would you most like for Valentine’s?
A pair of Louboutins. I am recovering from a broken ankle but their very presence will, I'm sure, help me to mend quicker!


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