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Mahogany Campaign Buffet Whatnot

Reference
82666
Height
33 1/2" (85.06 cm)
Width
35 1/1" (91.4 cm)
Depth
19 1/4" (48.88 cm)
A mahogany Campaign Buffet or Whatnot with brass standards.

Although the principle of using brass standards or columns to make a piece of furniture to dismantle was well established it was mostly only used for shelves and washstands. A number of years ago we had a smaller, five shelf Whatnot that worked to the same principles but otherwise, such furniture is rare.

The top shelf has a brass gallery to the back and each brass standard has a steel bolt to the ends for fixing the shelves or a threaded hole to receive a bolt. A ball finial to the top and a foot to the bottom fixes each column in place to support the shelves.

These free-standing shelves are a very useful piece of furniture and would have given good storage or display space to an officer on campaign. They are also an uncommon piece of campaign furniture to find. Mid 19th Century.

Using brass columns with screw fittings to separate the wooden boards of shelves was first done by British campaign furniture makers in the early 19th century. It was a very practical way to make portable furniture and was quick and easy to dismantle and set up. By the second half of the 19th century, most of the main makers (JW Allen, Day & Son, Hill & Millard, A&N CSL etc.) advertised washstands made in this way and also produced shelves to sit on top of campaign chests. These two items of furniture are the most common made in this form but other types were also made. This catalogue shows these and some more unusual examples. The buffet is certainly an uncommon piece of campaign furniture and the four tier shelves can also be bracketed in this group. Given that this method of making campaign furniture means that the shelves are easily separated it also means that they are easily replaced. Although it is believed that oval Whatnots were originally made, true ones are rare. There are a number of washstands on the market that have had their top shelf replaced with one without a cut-out for a bowl to make them more commercial. Indeed, there is even a company making modern versions that to the untrained eye look period. We would advise all to check the age carefully before they buy. If the top shelf does not have a cut out, compare the wood of all the shelves to ensure that they are all original. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised as this is any easy way to make furniture and brass with mahogany or teak is a classic look that has stood the test of time.
Height
33 1/2" (85.06 cm)
Width
35 1/1" (91.4 cm)
Depth
19 1/4" (48.88 cm)
Period
Mid 19th Century
Medium
Mahogany with Brass Standards
Origin
English
Style
Campaign Furniture
Exhibitions
Receiving Orders