• Item: Marriage Chest
• Provenance North West England, UK
• Period: George II
• Circa: 1730
• Wood: Oak
• Offered as a wedding gift / dowry
• Owners’ initials (‘A’ and ‘S’) carved on front panels
• Used for storing bedding, clothes & utensils
• Moulded plank top
• 3 stunning fielded dome shaped front panels
• Intricate feather banding
• 3 lower moulded drawers
• Peg construction
• Original brass swan neck handles & escutcheons
• Original working locks and keys
• Original wrought iron loop hinges
• Original top, sides, back & bottom boards
• Original turned bun feet
• Original polish and patination
• Lovely mellow colour
• Free delivery to mainland England, Wales & southern Scotland*
• Free 14 day returns policy
Here is a fine quality antique English George II oak marriage chest, circa 1730, in good original condition, which would have been offered as a wedding gift / dowry to a newly married couple. Originating from a farmhouse in the North West of England, we believe it to be of Cheshire / border counties origin, because of its colour, possibly with some Welsh influenced because of its design. The three-plank moulded hinged top boasts its original wrought iron loop hinges, which are still in good condition. The lid incorporates a striking plate and the original steel working lock, which also includes a key. The interior of the chest is dry and clean. The front of the chest is labelled with the initials ‘A’ and ‘S’ on a punch work recessed background, which would have been the initials of the newly married couple. Such items were donated as wedding presents because of their functional value in a new home. The chest boasts three stunning dome shaped fielded panels decorated with fine feather banding and three molded drawers below, also decorated with fine feather banding. The drawers are oak lined and hand dovetailed. The right hand drawer features its original working lock (with key). The chest retains its original brassware; this is evident with the key escutcheon for the lid and also the original brass swan neck handles and decorative brass back plates on the three drawers below.
Good quality wide twin inset oak side panels 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 pegged construction method; this is evident around the body of the frame. The chest is raised on its original turned bun feet to the front and simple stiles to the rear.
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 boasts a mellow 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.
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. There is no missing feather banding. The wrought iron wire loop hinges to the lid are original and in good condition. The box also retains its original lock and a working key. The brass key escutcheons and the brass drawer swan neck drawer handles on the front of the chest are also original. The interior is clean, dry, and usable. The right hand drawer features its original working lock (with key). The other two drawers were not designed with locks. The chest is raised on its original turned feet at the front and stiles at the rear. The back and floorboards are also original. The chest is well constructed, solid in joint and ready to use.
Height = 88.5cm or 34⅞” or 2ft 10⅞”
Width = 121cm or 47⅝” or 4ft 11⅝”
Depth = 50.7cm or 20” or 1ft 8”
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Ref: Mule Chest 2