This is a really interesting 18th century English storage piece sometimes referred to as a Lancashire mule chest. From the 17th to 19th centuries, built-in closets were uncommon in homes, so lift-top blanket chests were very popular for storing clothing, blankets, and household linens. Over the years, drawers were added to the bottom of the cabinet, increasing the height and gradually evolving into a different piece of furniture called the mule chest. It was called a mule chest because the lower drawers were commonly used to store slippers (which were then called "mules"). This particular 18th century English mule chest is cleverly designed to resemble a full chest of drawers.
The top half is comprised of 5 dummy drawers, where a hinged lid lifts up to reveal a spacious cabinet with two small hidden drawers on the inner left side. The bottom half of the chest features 4 functional drawers with dovetail joinery. The chest features solid wood construction, gorgeous flame mahogany veneer and inlaid details throughout, reeded pilasters on the corners, and ogee bracket feet. It is unclear whether the polished brass drawer handles are original, but they look period appropriate for this impressive antique case piece. The mule chest is in overall good antique condition, given its age.
The chest is sturdy, the hinged lid and drawers open relatively smoothly. The wood is beautiful and richly colored. There have been numerous repairs made to this chest over the centuries that add its charm. There are cracks on the top of the lid that have been filled.
Some of the feet and side panels have cracks as well. Please see photos for more details. The mule chest measures 65.5" long, 21.5" wide, and 43.25 tall. The chest is large and impressive!It would make a great storage piece for a bedroom, family room, or anywhere else you need extra storage.