Martin Carlin, maître in 1766.
Displaying beautiful panels of 17th Century Japanese lacquer to the top and sides, this elegant and sumptuous table en pupitre was almost certainly designed by Dominique Daguerre (d. 1796), one of the most famous marchand-merciers of Paris. These priviledged dealers not only sold a wide range of luxury goods, but were also constantly devising new inventions: unexpected types of objects, unusual combinations of materials, unprecedented models and forms.
Martin Carlin's close collaboration with marchand-merciers is well-documented and resulted in some of the finest items of French furniture executed in the late 18th century. His extensive work first for Simon Poirier and then Dominique Daguerre included a number of exquisite small tables enriched with Sèvres porcelain plaques and oriental lacquer, a speciality which continued until the end of his career. The present model exists in two basic forms, the main differences lying in the shape of the drawer and the undertier, which was usually inset with white marble but in some in cases also decorated with lacquer. This includes, amongst others, one in the Jones Collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum (1028-1882), one sold Christie's London, Boulle to Jansen sale, 12 June 2003, lot 15 (£ 218,050) and a further example from the collection of Jacques and Henriette Schumann, sold Christie's Paris, 30 September 2003, lot 425 (470,250 Euros).
The model was probably conceived around 1780 by Dominique Daguerre as a small group of closely related examples with a slightly deeper frieze and further mounts is decorated with Sèvres porcelain plaques of the early 1780s. The earliest of these is a table in the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, with plaques dated 1781, and one in the Frick Collection, New York, which has undated plaques but probably also of the same date (C. Sargentson, The Huntington Collection, San Marino, 2008, pp. 104-107 and T. Dell, The Frick Collection, vol. VI, Princeton, 1992, pp. 12-26). A further example is in the Wallace Collection which has plaques with date letters for 1783 (P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection, Vol. II, London, 1996, pp. 1100-1108). Intriguingly, in the 1806 inventory of madame de Montessan and an important client of both Poirier and Daguerre, there is recorded:-
Une petite chiffonière de bois de ébène et laque avec gaines et ornements de cuivre doré, le dessus aussi en laque s'ouvrant et servant du pupitre 100 francs, which almost certainly refers to an example of the present model.