What is an Antique Whatnot?

Antique Whatnot

The antique whatnot stand was intended to display a variety of objects, ornaments, curiosities, books and papers. They are usually in very nice serpentine or simpler rectangular shapes, with three shelves and occasionally one or two drawers below. They were supported by turned columns at the edges. Whatnots were very popular in the 19th century and they were usually made of mahogany, rosewood or walnut and were sometimes had ormolu mounts. In addition the shelves of some pieces were edged with pierced brass galleries. More finer examples was the étagère. The French word étagère meaning stand, combines both the qualities of the English dumb waiter and the whatnot put together. They usually had two or three tiers and was used for displaying objects or for serving food. French etageres were more highly decorated than British ones. By the 1860s there was a large variety of different designs available, from ones that had ormolu mounts, gilding, motifs and Rococo curves and scrolls. Please visit our current stock here for some fine examples for sale along with all our other beautiful stock.

Styles of Antique Whatnot

Some previous examples we have sold include this Spectacular early 19th Century Regency Gillows Design Rosewood Antique Whatnot with three beautifully figured tiers and a small up-stand along with elegant turned upright supports. The lower Mahogany lined drawer has small turned handles and this fine antique table stands on turned reeded feet with brass cup castors.

Spectacular Regency Gillows Rosewood Antique Whatnot


This unusual Victorian Antique Decorative Bamboo What Not has floral and bird images inlaid into the surfaces.

This late 19th century Victorian Inlaid Antique Etagere / Whatnot has the most striking inlaid top. This fine antique table has three tiers with Rosewood banded edges, floral central inlay on a quarter veneer. This fine antique has a decorative brass gallery with four finials to the top and stands on ebonised splayed legs.

Superb Quality Inlaid Antique Etagere

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