Victorian Irish Davenport, £14,000 at Stride & Son.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It uses a variety of native trees such as bog oak, arbutus wood (Strawberry tree) and features local flora in the motifs as well as local scenes and houses such as Muckross Abbey.

What started as something of a cottage industry grew in popularity when Killarney became a became a tourist destination in the 19th century offering the chance to buy souvenirs including pieces acquired by Queen Victoria (who visited the area) and other members the royal family.

Some of the items are relatively small – boxes or writing accessories and slopes – but larger pieces such as work tables and desks were also produced.

Pictured here is one such piece, an example of that quintessentially Victorian furnishing, the Davenport.

Requisite features

This 2ft (60cm) wide version turned up in the March 8 auction at Stride & Son (18% buyer’s premium) in Chichester and has all the requisite Killarney marquetry features: inlay of native plants (ferns and shamrock and oak leaves) plus scenes of buildings to all sides.

Sold for £14,000, it was described as in the manner of Jeremiah O’Connor (one of the manufacturers who put Killarney marquetry on the map by showing his work at the Great Exhibition) or Arthur Jones of Dublin.

A very similar Davenport by O’Connor sold at Christie’s in 2001 for £6463 including premium while another attributed to Arthur Jones was sold by Bonhams in 2011 for a premium-inclusive £7800.