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 and board, 19th century, one side slightly darker in colour, kings with spiked crowns, queens with ball finials, bishops with bulbous mitres, knights with large flat horses’ heads in the Irish manner, rooks as turrets, pawns with baluster knops, the king 9cm high, the pawn 5cm high, the hinged Killarney Yew and boxwood inlaid board/box for chess and backgammon, the backgammon points inlaid in satin-birch, 47.5cm wide (when open).

Stock Reference Number: FL 1534

Provenance: Private Chess Collection.


Chess Set:

Good. One pawn base with old repair.

Chess Board:

Scratches (very common on yew wood which has a relatively soft surface). Age cracks.


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. However, it exhibits many Killarney-type characteristics, including the oval framed view of Muckross Abbey, a tourist attraction near Killarney. Other local sites represented on Killarney ware include Ross Castle, Glena Cottage, Innisfallen, Dunloe Castle and Killarney House. These parquetry images were inspired by engravings published in guide books at the time. Other motifs typical of Killarney ware, such as shamrock, ferns and harps are also 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.

Austen (B.): Tunbridge Ware, Ch. 13, p178, W. Foulsham & Co., 1992.

How We Ship

All prices are inclusive of packing and delivery charges to Mainland UK destinations. Please allow approximately 7-10 working days for delivery.

For shipping to destinations outside the UK, please ask us for an individual shipping quote.

We aim to ship at competitive prices. Our shipper offers a 15% discount on their standard shipping prices on any item bought through this website. All items are shipped fully insured. You may find our Frequently Asked Questions page helpful.