Mid 18th. Century Mahogany Mule Chest


Circa 1750 - A very good and useful mid 18th. century Mahogany Mule Chest, the hinged caddy top with its original brass handle, lock and lockplate opening to a void above two half width drawers with the original handles, the sides also with original carrying handles and the whole raised on shaped bracket feet. This is constructed of huge planks of heavy early Mahogany throughout. This is such a useful as well as attractive piece. H:33”,84 cms, W:48”,122 cms, D:22”,56 cms.


Circa 1750 – Why is a Mule Chest so called – was it really for carrying goods strapped to the back of a mule? The answer almost certainly has to be no. The earliest examples date from the 16th/17th. century and were popular right through the 18th. century as well. In essence it is a coffer with a hinged lid and two or three drawers under  and raised on feet.

The term Mule may refer to the commonly used word for what we today call slippers and the drawers were for keeping ones mules in. The example shown above is very much a mid 18th. century example executed in fine Mahogany with the original carrying handles to the sides. Without the drawers it would have been difficult to retrieve items from the bottom of a coffer of these dimensions. It is also possible that this could have been made to house the family silver when not in use and there are marks on the inside where it could have had a removable tray or trays as well.

H:33”,84 cms, W:48”,122 cms, D:22”,56 cms.

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