• Item: Mule Chest
• Provenance: England, UK
• Period: Charles II
• Circa: 1680
• Wood: Solid Oak
• Offered as a wedding gift / dowry
• Possible faux date plaque
• Used for storing bedding, clothes & utensils
• Moulded plank top
• Stunning geometric symmetrical mitred panels
• Lower moulded drawer
• Original top, sides, back & bottom boards
• Original wrought iron loop hinges
• Original escutcheon
• Original candle box
• Secret drawer below candle box
• Original iron ring handles to drawer
• Later working lock and key (possibly Georgian)
• Original block feet
• Peg construction
• Original polish and patination
• Free delivery to mainland England, Wales & southern Scotland*
• Free 14 day returns policy
Here is a fine quality antique English Charles II oak marriage chest, circa 1680, boasting a warm mellow colour, which would have originally been offered as a wedding gift / dowry to a newly married couple, in good condition. The two-plank moulded hinged top boasts its original wrought iron loop hinges, which are still in good condition. The lid incorporates a striking plate with a later steel working lock (most likely from the Georgian period), which also includes a working key. The interior of the chest is dry and clean.
The front of the chest boasts the original iron key escutcheon with symmetrical geometric mitred panels below, decorated with half-round turned columns centrally and either side. Below is a faux date plaque inscribed ‘Anno Christi 1563’. It is common to see dates inscribed on pieces of furniture from this age, which are not always correct. We believe this item dates slightly later, circa 1600 – 1650.
Further below is a single geometric panelled drawer, which includes the original iron ring handles, original primitive central drawer runners, with oak linings featuring hand-dovetailed drawer construction. Inside, the mule chest boasts a candle box, underneath which is a secret drawer; this can be accessed by pulling out the removable side panel of the candle box. The secret drawer can then be pulled out.
Good quality wide twin inset oak side panels, with moulded decorative rails adorn the sides of the chest; the back retains the original rough-hewn oak backboards. The drawer linings and bottoms are constructed of oak, as are the wide floorboards in the base of the chest, which are all original. The chest has been made using the joined pegged construction method; this is evident around the body of the frame. The chest is raised on its original block feet.
This mule chest boasts a mellow rich oak colour. As it retains the original polish, it has a fantastic colour and patination; this can only be achieved through age and years of care and cleaning it has received.
This item would look great in a variety of rooms from the hallway, to the living room or bedroom, not only as an ornamental piece but also a useful storage chest.
Mule Chest History:
Such items as this chest were donated as wedding presents because of their functional value in a new home. A type of furniture like this would have primarily been used for storing bedding and clothes. In the eighteenth century, built-in wardrobes did not exist! A mule chest was often the only item of furniture that a family owned. There are several theories of where the term “mule chests” originated, but some believed it was because slippers (footwear) were then referred to as “mules” in the 17th and 18th century, and they were kept in the drawers of the chest. Blankets and bedding were stored above in the larger compartment and the footwear could be accessed without disturbing the bedding in the top section.
This mule chest is in good original condition. There are nominal old marks to the top, leading edges, tops, sides and front (see photos) but nothing significant considering the age of the item. Such old use marks are inevitable and perfectly acceptable due to its age and use it would have received. The wrought iron wire loop hinges to the lid are original and in good condition. The box also features a later steel working lock with working key; which was most likely replaced in the Georgian period. The iron key escutcheon and drawer handles on the front of the chest are also original. The interior is clean, dry, and usable and retains its original candle box. The chest is raised on its original block feet. The back and floorboards are also original. The chest is well constructed, solid in joint and ready to use.
Height = 71.8cm or 28¼” or 2ft 4¼”
Width = 128cm or 50⅜” or 4ft 2⅜”
Depth = 58cm or 22⅞” or 1ft 10⅞”
Terms & Conditions:
Before you purchase this item, please ensure you have read and are in agreement with our Terms & Conditions of Sale. If you have any questions regarding our Terms & Conditions of Sale, please contact us to discuss them, before purchasing this item.
Ref. Mule Chest 3