829. Rare Irish Killarneyware Arbutus Wood Backgammon Chess Set 19th Century

Fine Example of an Irish Killarney Ware Arbutus Wood Backgammon and Chess Board of large size proportions, mid Nineteenth Century. 

The main chess area with a wide border of inlaid trailing shamrocks opening to reveal a traditional backgammon board.  

Condition: This item of offered in original untouched condition with no losses, a few very tiny shrinkage lines and light scratching, good surface patination.   

Height: 21" (53.5cm). Width: 21" (53.5cm). Thickness: (closed) 3.25" (8cm).  



Killarney marquetry became popular in the mid-1830s. Jeremiah O'Connor and James Egan were some of the first manufacturers of Killarney wares. O'Connor exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and one of his tables was purchased by the Prince of Wales in 1858. The majority of items with Killarney-type inlay are boxes, table cabinets and stands, or small pieces of furniture such as pedestal work or sewing tables and Davenports. 

Arbutus is one of the main timbers used in Killarney marquetry, versatile in the effect created by the use of its veneers with the root, trunk and branches. Other local timbers were used, for example holly, sycamore, laburnum, maple and yew. The scenes of local tourist spots were based on engravings in guidebooks and topographical works of the area and the animals and plants applied were those seen whilst touring the countryside. 

The Prince of Wales visited Killarney in 1858 and purchased one of O'Connors tables, another identical table was made to display in his shop, which is thought to be the table sold at Phillips London, 21 November 2000, Lot 90. A Killarney davenport was presented to Queen Victoria on her visit to Killarney in 1861, now back in Ireland in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland. This information kind permission of Sotheby's London.  

This is a superb example of Killarneyware in wonderful condition.