'Killarney work table features in Cork antique auction'
Woodwards auctions have featured a number of very collectible items of 'Killarney ware' achieving very satisfactory prices.
Killarneyware, the distinctive style of furniture produced in Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe during the mid-19th century. The use of Arbutus wood is typical of Killarney. This whitish close-grained wood which yellows with age had been highly valued for centuries in Ireland; the Seanchas Mor, Ireland's old law texts, mentioning the timber in a section on tree-damage (cf. John Teahan, Irish Furniture and Woodcraft, 1994, pp.39-42).
Popular subjects frequently seen on Killarney furniture include such historical sites as Muckross Abbey, Glena Cottage, Muckross House and Ross Castle
The tradition began with small items such as card cases, snuff boxes and chessboards aimed at the considerable tourist trade of the times. The seasonable nature of the trade led to the production of much more ambitious pieces of furniture such as tables, cabinets, bureaux and davenports.
The first image above is of a very good example, described as AN IRISH KILLARNEY ARBUTUS MARQUETRY WORK TABLE Circa 1890 The rectangular top ornately inlaid with a Crowned Harp, shamrock and fern leaves, roundels depicting ruins and a cottage. The lid lifts to reveal a fitted and sectioned sewing tray which lifts out and a materiel drawer under. The table is raised on a shamrock inlaid quadripartite claw foot base.