Etagere

A japanned etagere in the Chinese Chippendale style by Maison Jansen seen in the Duchess of Windsor’s dressing room

A japanned etagere in the Chinese Chippendale style by Maison Jansen seen in the Duchess of Windsor’s dressing room

If you are going to walk the walk, you should talk the talk

What is an etagere?

ETAGERE:  A type of furniture introduced in the beginning of the 19th century characterized by a series of tiered shelves, sometimes with drawers or doors below.  It was designed for the display of small objects.  The Victorians called their version a “whatnot.” It remains very popular today and has evolved to include open shelving for display that is not necessarily tiered.

In Albert Hadley’s Apartment

In Albert Hadley’s Apartment

Examples

Billy Baldwin designed one of the most famous etageres for Cole Porter.

Photo from the New York Social Diary

Photo from the New York Social Diary

The firm Victoria & Son, who manufactured the original version, continues to offer an etagere in the Porter style.

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I have a pair of Milo Baughman etageres in our NYC apartment.

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This Victorian whatnot features burl wood.  In the Victorian period, whatnots often were corner pieces.

Victorian period whatnot with burl wood

Victorian period whatnot with burl wood

Tabletop

The word “etagere” also describes a tiered serving piece. 

This serving piece also is known as an etagere.

This serving piece also is known as an etagere.

Get the look.

Here are 5 currently available favorites.

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Photo credits: Duchess of Windsor from Liz O’brien.  Albert Hadley apartment from Lonny.  Victorian whatnot from live auctioneers.  Serving piece from dewanda  Shopping: 1 Jonathan Adler Jacques   2. Jules  from Mitchell Gold,  3. Chloe available Ballard Designs, 4. Bunny Williams Olympia  available Harbinger 5. Stanley Furniture Preserve Botany  on Ebay