This elegant side cabinet is stamped by the ébéniste Martin Carlin, whose exquisite porcelain-mounted furniture of the 1770s demonstrate his unsurpassed talent and originality. The present cabinet incorporates both rococo and neo-classical elements and was almost certainly executed at the beginning of his career, circa 1766-1770, when he was searching for his own individual style, relying on different illusionistic effects in his marquetry to set himself apart from his contemporaries. Embellished with floral branches within classical ovals, a fashionable motif of the time, the cabinet's overall outline is sinuous, which at that date had largely evolved into more rectilinear forms.
The trophy mounts to the corners are identical to those on furniture produced by Charles Topino (1742-1803), maître in 1773. Identical corner mounts can also be found on a sécretaire à abattant signed Topino illustrated in Pierre Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1998, p. 846, as well as on another sold anonymously at Sotheby's Monaco, 3 July 1993, lot 178, bearing identical mounts. It seems logical therefore that Carlin and Topino either shared the same bronzier, who owned the chef-modèle of this pattern, or that they were engaged by the same marchand-mercier. From surviving accounts, we know that Topino worked as a specialist marqueteur for marchands such as Héricourt, Dautriche, Migeon, Denizot, Delorme, Tuart, Boudin and Moreau, whilst his Topino bronzes dorés were cast by Viret, chased by Chamboin and Dubuisson and gilded by Bécard, Gérard and Vallet.