The What-not is essentially a set of shelves supported by corner posts or side columns and on castors to make it mobile.
It seems to have appeared towards the late 18th century and gained popularity during the Victorian era for displaying a variety of ornaments, objects, curiosities, books and papers.
They were usually constructed from mahogany, walnut and rosewood with some japanned examples.
The walnut item featured in this article is a combination of a What-not and a Canterbury lower section to hold paper or related documents such as music sheet
Restoration of a Victorian What-Not Canterbury
The item was presented to the restorers in good condition with the exception of top shelf. A candle had been left to burn out on the top, causing quite severe damage.
It was discussed and then agreed with the client that due to the severity of the damage the best option was to cut away the charcoaled area and insert a new section into the shelf and then source a suitable walnut veneer to be inserted over the underlying repair. To then colour out and polish as required this area to blend in with the existing original patination.
This was a particularly challenging job as it took some time to source a suitable veneer close to the original figuring and to then blend in the different colour variations until the new section combined well with original patinated surface.
New walnut veneer was sourced that provided a good match to the existing figuring.
The work was undertaken and completed by Accredited member, Scott Bowran.