• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2042

    Important English Furniture

    17 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 86

    AN IRISH EARLY VICTORIAN YEW-WOOD AND ARBUTUS-WOOD MARQUETRY TEA-TABLE

    CIRCA 1840, KILLARNEY

    Price Realised  

    AN IRISH EARLY VICTORIAN YEW-WOOD AND ARBUTUS-WOOD MARQUETRY TEA-TABLE
    CIRCA 1840, KILLARNEY
    The hinged swiveling top inlaid with Muckross Abbey and opening to inlaid roundels of other historic places within stylized foliate borders
    32 in. (81 cm.) high, 32¼ in. (81.5 cm.) wide, 17¼ in. (43.5 cm.) deep, closed


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    The manufacture of Killarney ware developed into an industry in the early 19th Century, when the town, although inaccessible to most, became a tourist attraction for the wealthy and the perservering who wished to see the lakes. During the 1820s bog-oak and bog-yew were dug up and carved into souvenir trinkets such as egg-cups, snuff boxes and card-cases. Arbutus, a shrub of Mediterranean origin, which flourished in the mild damp climate of South West Ireland, was also exploited for the Killarney furniture-making trade in the 1830s. Cabinets, Davenports and games-tables were elaborately inlaid, like the present lot, with local scenes and engravings found in guide-books, as well as the local fauna and flora. In the 1850s, after the opening of the railway, the Killarney industry established its reputation both in Ireland and abroad and was patronized by members of the Royal family, such as Queen Victoria who visited in 1861 (B. Austen, 'Killarney Inlaid Furniture, A Forgotten Industry', Killarney Newsletter, Spring/Summer 1998, pp. 6 and 7).