Learn about Whatnot

A set of standing shelves for holding books, ornaments and whatever. The French term for this form is étagère. Georgian and Regency whatnots were usually square in form, with three or more shelves supported by finely turned spindles. There was generally a small drawer at the bottom. Some examples of red cedar whatnots have survived from colonial times. Victorian whatnots, which are rather more common, were intended to stand in a corner. Usually triangular, they have staged or graduated shelves, supported by spindles and often with a fretwork gallery at the back of each shelf. They were often made in burr walnut, sometimes inlaid. Bamboo whatnots date from the late 19th century. Usually the finials have a threaded wooden screw which fits into the matching threaded hole in column, so the units can be disassembled. Often at least one of the threads have worn, and to overcome this, the finials and columns have been glued.

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Victorian rosewood 4 tier whatnot, with barley spiral twist supports and fretwork gallery to top, 67 cm wide, 116.5 cm high

A George IV mahogany four tier what-not, circa 1825 with spindle turned supports and turned finials, drawer to base, 128 cm high, 58.5 cm wide, 42.5 cm deep

A Victorian walnut corner whatnot. Later 19th century, of four tier graduating form with turned and spiral carved supports, finials and fretwork, each shelf inlaid with ebony and satinwood in the Sheraton manner, raised on ball and squashed bun feet. Heigh

A Victorian walnut three tier whatnot with fine fretwork panels. 94 cm high, 92 cm wide, 39 cm deep.

A Victorian burr walnut whatnot canterbury, mid 19th century, the shaped tiered whatnot of typical form with spindles, finials, ribbon twist supports and fretwork embellishments, the lower tier with pierced compartments above an apron drawer and raised on

Antique French two tiered whatnot, with applied brass carry handles, approx 83 cm high, 65 cm wide, 42 cm deep

Vintage three tier whatnot with marquetry inlaid shelves supported by turned columns, 51.5 cm x 36 cm, 75.5 cm high approx.

Antique corner whatnot, approx 111 cm high, 41 cm wide, 37 cm deep

A superb Victorian walnut and satinwood inlaid whatnot. 149 cm high, 90 cm long, 25 cm deep

An Australian Colonial cedar five-tier whatnot with rectangular shelves and shaped supports. Width 43 cm

A Victorian burr walnut and inlaid whatnot with mirror panel back, fret-pierced panels and turned supports. Width 55 cm

A Victorian burr walnut four-tier whatnot, with fret-pierced three-quarter gallery, twist-turned supports and fitted with a drawer. Width 56 cm

A Victorian three tier inlaid walnut whatnot, 19th century, with shaped shelves of graduating depth supported by turned and spiral twist spindles with finials and raised upon toupie feet, each shelf with inlaid embellishments in satinwood and ebony. Height

A Victorian burr walnut and mahogany corner What-not, c.1880's, with four tier shelves and fretwork mahogany frame. Height 127 cm

A George III mahogany four tier library whatnot, circa 1820. The adjustable hinged ratcheted top supported on ring turned uprights, the lower shelf with one drawer, the legs with brass terminals and castors, 48 cm width x 38 cm depth x 121 cm height.

A Victorian walnut and inlaid whatnot, circa 1890, with a small mirrored and pierced gallery above three cascading shaped shelves with turned supports and delicate stringing, ebony, satinwood and burr walnut marquetry, a pair of cupboards below with confor

A huon pine what-not, Tasmanian, circa 1845, 110 cm high, 48 cm wide, 32.5 cm deep. Literature: Australian Furniture: Pictorial History and Dictionary, 1788-1938, Kevin Fahy and Andrew Simpson, Casuarina Press Ptd Ltd, Woollahra p. 518 (illustrated)

A Victorian burr walnut and inlay canterbury whatnot, c.1880. The top is rectangular with pierced gallery back. The base has three dividers (used for storing sheet music or books) with a lower single full sized drawer upon turned bun feet. Height 82 cm. Wi

Edwardian walnut whatnot. Pierced gallery, inlaid & stringing decoration. Turned columns. Height 137 cm. Width 69 cm. Depth 48 cm

Antique early 19th century mahogany & walnut three tiered whatnot, fitted with two drawers, approx 120 cm high

Victorian walnut four tier single drawer whatnot with fretwork gallery & barley twist supports

A Victorian walnut three-tier what-not with circular drop-flap tiers, turned column and triform plateau base. Height 124 cm

A Victorian cedar whatnot, late 19th century, delicately crafted with a pierced gallery, above four serpentine shelves supported by slender spiral curved and knopped spindles. Height 113 cm. Width 50 cm. Depth 33 cm

A good Victorian burr walnut three tier whatnot, serpentine upstand and shelves, turned and reeded spindle supports, the turned short legs terminating in brass capped, white porcelain casters. 84 cm x 37 cm x 155 cm

A Victorian graduated four tier inlaid burr walnut corner whatnot, boxwood stringing and scroll inlay, turned spindles and finials.

A Victorian burr walnut whatnot c.1880 -1890. The whatnot is a four tier type, with fretwork mirrored top back and central single mirrored door cupboard. Height 144 cm; width 106 cm; Depth 33 cm

An antique mahogany corner What-not with mirrored door

Victorian five tier whatnot, with barley spiral twist supports, 69 cm wide, 132 cm high