Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games



April 05, 2019

These stools were made especially for H. M. The Queen's coronation in 1953 at Westminster Abbey, and under the influence of Queen Mary (a keen antiques collector), were based on a 16th century "Farthingale" design. Various Buckinghamshire furniture manufacturers were commissioned to make the stools and chairs for the coronation. Guests were then allowed to buy their stools and chairs after the ceremony.

This stool is in immaculate condition and comes with the original protective cloth cover. 


March 27, 2019

A rare chance to snap up an Investiture chair in almost mint condition- unused, and in the original box, as ordered directly from the Ministry of Works in 1969. A label on the box gives assembly instructions in English and Welsh. Two previous owners. The chair comes in two sections, which fit away neatly inside the cardboard box. Original screws included.

Otherwise known as "The Red Chair", this chair was designed by Antony Armstrong-Jones (The Earl of Snowdon), the stage designer Carl Toms (1927-1999), and John Pound, principle design officer with the Supplies Division of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works.

The chair was designed specifically for the four thousand guests invited to the Prince of Wales's Investiture at the Medieval Caernarfon Castle in July 1969. Millions of television viewers watched the twenty year old Prince receive his insignia from The Queen, conferring on him his new title as the twenty first Prince of Wales. Lord Snowdon, the Prince's uncle and Constable of the castle, was commissioned (along with Carl Toms and John Pound) to design the setting and furniture of the investiture. The resulting ceremony successfully reflected the supposed "antiquity" of the event, but with a simplified modernist twist- very much in tune with Sixties thinking: the investiture taking place under a huge Perspex canopy, a modern take on the hangings which might have been found, say, at a Medieval tournament.

For the Prince of Wales's Investiture, 4,600 chairs were made and sold for twelve pounds at the end of the day. Immediately after the ceremony, the chairs were dismantled and offered for sale. Invited guests had first refusal, with the remainder being sold to the public. Lord Snowdon bought six. The chair is made from Welsh beech, stained in vermillion, and consisting of a seat and back resting on a tiered stand. The Prince of Wales' feathers motto (Ich Dien) is indented in gilt (rather than painted) to the chair back, a successful attempt to reduce wear. The seat is padded with foam and upholstered with a simple red Welsh tweed. It was imperative that the chairs could withstand rain, and that no colour came off on the guests' clothes.


March 22, 2019

Rather original antique Indian Export chess set from the Gareth Williams Chess Collection, a good example of a carved ivory set from Vizagapatam, East India.

Vizagapatam was known for its exquisitely carved work (often in elephant ivory and sandalwood), and made for export to Europe and especially the British Isles. This trade was at its height in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.


March 20, 2019

Two rather good antique chessmen from Rajasthan, typically carved from ivory and then painted and gilded. Likely to be a King and Queen. The larger chessman has two prices riding in the howdah, (with a mahout driver in front) and the second chessman is similar but of smaller size. The gadrooned rectangular bases and style of the pieces suggests a late 18th century date- slightly earlier than the standard "Rajasthan" sets dating from the early to mid 19th century,


March 20, 2019

These enamel cups were made to celebrate the coronation of Nicholas II of Russia in 1896; and, traditionally, handed out to the people as free souvenirs. On the morning of the 18th May 1896, over half a million revellers gathered on the Khodynka Meadow (an army training ground found on the outskirts of Moscow). A rumour swept through the crowd that the cup contained a gold coin. There was a stampede and in the confusion over a thousand people were trampled to death, many of them trapped in the network of military trenches and drainage ditches which crisscrossed the field.


March 04, 2019

Signed chess sets by William Lund are scarce.


The Lund family were well-known turners and manufacturers of fancy goods during the Victorian period. Thomas Lund established his business and warehouse at 57 Cornhill, London in 1804, initially selling pens and quills and later, cutlery, writing boxes, dressing cases and other fancy goods including chess sets. 

William Lund (Thomas’s son) set up his manufactory and retail shop at 24 Fleet Street, London in 1835. The property had been acquired from William Anderson, a cutler and razor manufacturer, under whom William Lund had been previously apprenticing. At that time, Fleet Street enjoyed a cluster of shops specifically selling luxury goods to the carriage trade.

Thomas and William ran their businesses independently, but after Thomas’s death in 1845, William took over the running of both, whilst also expanding his own premises to include 23 Fleet Street. By 1859, the Fleet Street premises had again expanded to include No. 25.

When William Lund died in 1872, his son Charles continued on the business under the name of William Lund & Son.


February 26, 2019

Woburn Abbey in the county of Bedfordshire, England, is the family seat of the Dukes of Bedford. Woburn Abbey, comprising Woburn Park and its buildings, was set out and founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Taken from its monastic residents by Henry VIII and given to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1547, it became the seat of the Russell family and the Dukes of Bedford. The Abbey was largely rebuilt starting in 1744 by the architects, Henry Flitcroft and Henry Holland for the 4th Duke.  

This rare 19th century part-set was originally purchased by the current owner at the Christie's "Woburn Abbey- Property from Two Ducal Collections" auction in 2004.  The part set is of significant size, with the king standing over 13 inches tall, and would, most likely, have been used outside on the lawn, on a table in the gardens, or in a loggia.

Five of the white pieces have the inscription '1855' in pencil on the underside of the bases. This is likely to be either a country house inventory number (suggesting that the set might, in fact, date from the early 19th century) or, as Christie's suggest, the yearly date 1855. The part set is in the "Old English" style, popular in the first half of the 19th century, before the Staunton pattern was designed in 1849.

An opportunity to purchase a genuinely rare part set with an impeccable provenance. Please feel free to contact me if you need more information.


February 25, 2019

Classic antique travelling chess set by the famous firm of Jaques. 

With the expansion of the middle classes in the 19th century- and train travel- various manufacturers began to experiment with portable chess sets that could be used in a carriage, train or ship. Jaques’ patent for the ‘In Statu Quo” (“in their existing position”) was granted in August, 1853.

This set has a locking mechanism holding the brass pegged bone pieces in place. Comes with the original slipcase in green leather.


February 14, 2019

Charming little ivory chess set. Made in India for export to the United Kingdom during the days of the East India Company. The red side is stained with cochineal dye.


February 14, 2019

Incredibly pretty Islamic chess set caved from mineral rock crystal. One side has a green stain, the other side, red. All the chessmen are decorated with flowers and leaves in gilt.

Islamic chess sets are always carved in the abstract as the Koran forbids the depiction of the faces that you will find in the figural chess sets popular in Europe.

This set comes with a red and white cloth "board".


February 13, 2019

Charming ironstone mug or tankard from the Regency period. Features a horse and carriage trotting up to a rather Jane Austen-y country house. Delightful object. Condition is good, and would make a pretty mug for arranging flowers.

'Ironstone' was developed in Staffordshire (first patented by Charles James Mason in 1813), as an alternative to porcelain during the early 19th century. It's noted for its strength and resistance to chipping.


February 07, 2019

This rare pattern is named after the Victorian ivory turner, Charles Hastilow. Characteristically, the kings and queens have beautifully carved crowns, and the queen is surmounted with a Fleur de Lys. The rooks have extra large flags.


February 07, 2019

Rare. Reverse Glass Mezzotints were popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries, although due to the fragile nature of the glass, are now relatively scarce. Mezzotint prints on paper were stuck onto glass with a rabbit glue size, and then shaved down from behind with a rubber, until thin. The print was then painted from the reverse in oils. This gives the glass print an attractive luminous glow.

Susannah Maria Cibber (1714-1766) was a famous 18th century singer and actress. Handel admired her and wrote numerous parts for her voice including the Messiah, Samson, and Saul. She was also much admired by her wealthy lodger, one William Sloper- in an unsavoury episode which resulted in a scandalous ménage a trois. In 1738, Mr Cibber accused Sloper of “Assaulting, Ravishing and Carnally Knowing my Wife”. Another account has Mr Cibber forcing Sloper to sleep with his wife at pistol point. Susannah Cibber lies buried in Westminster Abbey.


February 04, 2019

Tinsel prints were created from etched portraits of theatrical stars in popular roles they played on the London stage. They were hand-painted in watercolour and decorated with scraps of material and tinsel additions. They were popular during the first half of the 19th century and were considered an adult, rather than a child's hobby. By the 1830s it was possible to buy the tinsel, leather and feather ornaments to go with each image.

Archibald Alexander Park, 47 Leonard Street, Shoreditch: a family concern in business between 1835-1863. See: George Speaight's 'Juvenile Drama', Macdonald & Co, 1946, page 222.

The 'Red Rover of Cuba or The Mutiny of the Dolphin' was first performed at the Adelphi Theatre in 1829.


February 01, 2019

Historically interesting print; Scottish theme:

Another example of this print is held in the collection of the National Galleries, Scotland (Accession No. SP V 106.1)

The Edinburgh (or, as they were afterwards called, the Royal) Volunteers, were embodied in 1794. were only distinguished by their swords. The regiment, being assembled in Heriot's Green on the 26th September, 1794, was presented with a stand of colours by the Lord Provost (Sir James Stirling), attended by the two senior Magistrates, the Principal of the University, and the whole Members of the Town Council, in their robes. The colours were very handsome: the one elegantly embroidered with a crown, and the letters G. R.; and the other with the City Arms. A vast crowd of spectators attended to witness the presentation.

The mezzotint shows the Regimental Drill Sergeant, Patrick Gould, with the regiment paraded on Heriot's Green, Edinburgh Castle in the background. Gould was a native of Clackmannashire. He was brought up as a weaver, but enlisted in the Foot Guards. In 1793, Gould was appointed Drill Sargeant to the Argyleshire Fencibles, and in the following year was transferred to the First Regiment of the Edinburgh Volunteers: 

'He was accurate, attentive and active; and as a drill none could surpass him. During his connection with the Volunteers- a period of twenty one years- he trained upwards of two thousand men to military exercises. His manner to a pupil was somewhat abrupt, and his language not remarkable for its refinement, but after two to three lessons, the first unfavourable impressions subsided, and the Sargeant gradually became a favourite.'

(From John Kay's 'A Series of Original Portraits and Caricature Etchings', volume 2, part 1.


January 29, 2019

Rather pretty Regency antique tray dating from the very early 19th century. "Tole" is the art of painting on tin. This tray features a picturesque or romantic landscape, with trees and a ruined abbey. The borders are painted with leaves, butterflies and wheatsheaf motifs- very typical of the Regency period.


January 25, 2019

This is a Victorian bone chess set in the famous 'Barleycorn' Pattern. The Barleycorn pattern was one of the most popular English patterns used in the 19th century. The name comes from the carved wheatsheaf decoration that can sometimes be found on these sets. 'John Barleycorn' was also the name of historical English folk song.

This particular set is very similar in style to sets listed in Jaques' pattern books, which were shown to retailers to help them select their stock. The set comes with a modern maple box.


January 17, 2019

Tinsel prints were created from etched portraits of theatrical stars in popular roles they played on the London stage. They were hand-painted in watercolour and decorated with scraps of material and tinsel additions. They were popular during the first half of the 19th century and were considered an adult, rather than a child's hobby. By the 1830s it was possible to buy the tinsel, leather and feather ornaments to go with each image.


January 16, 2019

Charming theatrical tinsel picture from the first half of the 19th century:

"The art of tinselling consists of embellishing or engraving  by sticking various kinds of material onto its surface; the face is let untouched, but everything else, particularly the costume or armour, may be "built up", in a more elaborate way...tinselling was entirely a home occupation, and nobody thought of buying one ready made" (From George Speaight's "The Juvenile Drama", published in 1946.


October 29, 2018

Wood from the arbutus or strawberry tree was exploited from the 1830s in the production of Irish furniture and treen. This tree flourished in South-West Ireland, where the mild and damp conditions better suited this tree of Mediterranean origin. 

The centre for marquetry wares incorporating arbutus was Killarney, but by 1860 the burgeoning industry extended beyond the Killarney area. Motifs typical of Killarney ware, such as shamrock, ferns and harps are employed in the decoration on this board/box.

Jeremiah O'Connor of Killarney was one of the greatest exponents of Killarney marquetry ware, but similar work was produced in Dublin and Cork as well.