Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games

Irish Yew Chess Set & Board, 19th century

  • Irish Yew Chess Set & Board, 19th century
  • Irish Yew Chess Set & Board, 19th century
  • Irish Yew Chess Set & Board, 19th century
  • Irish Yew Chess Set & Board, 19th century

An Irish Killarney Yew Chess Set, Box & Board, 19th Century

one side dark brown, the other side a lighter brown, kings with baluster knops and spires, queens with baluster knops, bishops with mitres, knights with arched horses' heads, rooks as turrets, pawns with baluster knops, in a 19th century Tunbridgeware box, with an attractive 19th century Irish Killarney Yew board/box for chess and backgammon, inlaid with Irish shamrocks, two turned Killarney Yew shakers and a set of 30 turned backgammon counters and an instruction pamphlet explaining the rules of  Backgammon

King: 11.6cm high

Pawn: 4.5cm high

Board/Box: 51cm wide (when closed)

Counters: 3.4cm diameter

Stock Reference: MJ 1808


Chess Set


A few scratches. Nice patina. Slightly bowed. A few counters replaced.

Tunbridgeware Box

Good. Minor scuffs and minor repairs to the back. Green baize base worn.

A Note From Luke

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.

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