Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games



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.


October 25, 2018

Unusual mid 19th century hand-coloured print by the firm of Oehmigke & Riemschneider of  Neuruppin, Brandenburg. London is depicted as a fantasy Germanic or Eastern European, its skyline peppered with onion domes, spires and minarets.

In an attractive 19th century reeded frame.


October 23, 2018

Rare collection of antique jasperware chessmen, after the designs by John Flaxman (1755-1826) for Wedgwood and taken from the characters in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The original designs date from circa 1783.

These particular chessmen are likely to be period copies from these original designs, and as they are not stamped "Wedgwood" we can assume that they are not from the Wedgwood Factory. The rather rustic rooks are unusual- and differ from the rooks found in the standard set.


October 18, 2018

Classic antique "St George" Pattern chess set. The rosewood figuring is especially attractive.


October 12, 2018

Typical Anglo-Indian ivory chess set from the first half of the 19th century. These were made in Berhampore, a trading station of the British East India Company, specifically for the export market.


October 04, 2018

Unusual Danish bone chess set from the late 18th/early 19th century. From a private British chess collection, previously in the collection of Martine Jeannin, the Parisian antique dealer (Bonhams, Fine Chess Sets and Games including the Martine Jeannin Collection, 29th April, 2009).

Can be exported to the United States.


October 04, 2018

Signed Calvert sets are hard to find. Thomas Calvert, a Liveryman and Master of the Worshipful Company of Turners, operated from premises at 189 Fleet Street, London, from the end of the 18th century until his death in 1822, at which point his wife, Dorothy, took over the business, running it until her death in 1840.

The base of the white king is stamped: CALVERT MAKER 189 FLEET STRt LONDON

Nice example in good condition with an attractive 'gloss patina' to the white side. Recommended.


September 25, 2018

This pattern was named after the famous Cafe de la Régence in Paris, which became a popular place to play chess in the 19th century. The set is made from bone, but has a polished surface, creating an attractive patination.


September 25, 2018

An unusual variation on the English 19th century "Barleycorn" pattern. The pawns have a slender, elongated central section, similar to the "Edinburgh Upright" pattern. An antique ivory set of nice quality, well carved and in a good condition. Recommended.


September 24, 2018

Nice example of the late 18th century "Washington Pattern". Similar to a chess set belonging to George Washington, which can be seen at Mount Vernon, his plantation house in Virginia.

The rather solid rooks with incised brickwork and the arched heads of the knights are typical of the pattern, but more unusual are the 'double stacked' turrets on the rooks. The set comes with a 19th century mahogany box.


September 13, 2018

The Staunton Pattern was designed in 1849 by Nathanial Cooke, and since then has become one of the most recognised chess patterns, beloved by international players for its simplicity, appropriate design and playability.


August 23, 2018

Quality antique Staunton chess set from the famous old company of Jaques, London. Nice rich colour to the boxwood. Comes in a late 19th century mahogany box by F. H. Ayres (with original key).


August 06, 2018

The “Edinburgh” or “Northern” Upright pattern is always popular with collectors and players. This set has a nice toffee colour to the boxwood and unusual stepped bases. According to Howard Staunton the pattern was designed by Lord John Hay in the 1840s.


July 27, 2018


July 18, 2018

An interesting Dutch bone chess set of elegant shape. Similar , in some way, to the Biedermeier Selenus style. The set comes with its original oblong box- a rare find.

There is an ink inscription in Dutch on the lid. It’s a bit rubbed, but I gather- having shown in to a Dutch friend- that it describes how the set was used by the owner on holiday.

Charming find.


July 17, 2018

The famous Staunton pattern was invented by Nathaniel Cooke and first patented with Jaques in 1849. The chess grandmaster, Howard Staunton, endorsed the new pattern, and Jaques labels bear his signature- or facsimile signature in later sets.

The Jaques green sarcophagus box is modelled after a Neo-Grecian casket, and is genuinely rare. It bears Howard Staunton’s signature in gilt, and imitation Gothic carrying handles in gilt to the sides.


July 12, 2018

Good Anglo-Indian octagonal table. Typical of Hoshiarupr (in the Punjab): originally made to fold up flat, so that they could be taken outside onto verandahs and picnics. These days, incredibly popular as versatile side tables in modern room settings. This table has been set into the fixed position. 

Nice size.


July 04, 2018

Alternative version of a typical mahong set, as produced in the workshops of Shanghai in the 1920s. The sliding front reveals two drawers- a slimmer drawer for the scoring sticks, dice and wind discs, the deeper drawer holding the tiles.


July 04, 2018

It’s been suggested that this Staunton set is by the Victorian Liverpool chess manufacturer, Richard Whitty. Certainly, the red baizes are of the same colour. Otherwise, it’s a decent player’s antique set, with a good weight.



July 03, 2018

Lovely late 18th century Selenus set with Islamic crescent finials, as popular in Central Europe at that time. Original condition, yet hard to spot any faults with it. The red stain is nice and fresh. No chips. Tiny hairline crack on one of the white knights, otherwise it gets an “Excellent” rating. With the original stained pine box with a sliding lid. Nice set. Recommended.