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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A Victorian walnut whatnot, three tier each with pierced gallery and turned supports. Height 113 cm. Width 103 cm. Depth 24 cm.

A rosewood three tier whatnot, English, 19th century, 116 cm high, 61 cm wide, 46 cm deep

A corner whatnot, burr walnut with marquetry inlay, circa 1870, 129 cm high, 60 cm wide, 40 cm deep

A large Victorian burr walnut barley twist whatnot, 19th century, the two tier whatnot of generous form with a pierced three quarter gallery, finials, bold barley twist supports, and raised on toupie feet with petite brass casters. Height 116 cm. Width 56

A fine Sheraton Revival burr walnut whatnot canterbury, late 19th century, the canterbury with a book end veneer top and a three quarter pierced gallery, with slender turned supports to a partitioned pierced lower section and a full width drawer, raised on

A Sheraton Revival walnut whatnot, circa 1900, the four tier whatnot of typical cascading form with fretwork, twist and turned supports and raised on toupie feet, well embellished with Sheraton urns and arabesque forms in ebony and satinwood inlay to each

Victorian walnut whatnot with marquetry inlay shelves and fretwork mirrored top, 55 cm wide, 115 cm high

Early marquetry whatnot stand. 4 levels, turned columns. Height 136 cm Depth 30 cm (max to base)

Antique floral marquetry inlaid demi lune shape whatnot, 134 cm high, 62 cm wide, 29 cm D

A unusually tall cedar whatnot, Tasmanian origin, circa 1840, 241 cm high, 107 cm wide, 28 cm deep

A Victorian walnut canterbury whatnot, circa 1860s. The well figured book end veneer top with stringing, Sheraton style floral inlay and finials, with turned supports to a tri-partitioned lower section above an inlaid single drawer, and raised on turned to

A Victorian burr walnut shape front three tier whatnot. 110 cm high, 121 cm wide, 39.5 cm deep

A Victorian burr walnut whatnot-canterbury, with conventional canterbury base with single frieze drawer in superstructure of a single shelf raised upon fretwork supports and with fretwork gallery to the sides and back. 58 cm x 37 cm x 89 cm

A Victorian cedar corner whatnot, second half 19th century, the five tier whatnot with shaped shelves of typical graduating waterfall form with a pierced shaped gallery, and bobbin style supports with finials. Height 138 cm. Width 61 cm. Depth 39 cm.

Victorian four tier inlaid mahogany whatnot height 150 cm approx

Rosewood 4 tier what not, with turned supports, 51.5 cm wide, 36 cm deep, 104 cm high

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