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Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games

irish-yew-chess-set-board-19th-century

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.