The inscription records an order given by Qianlong to Peng Yuanrui and Cao Wenzhi a few days after the birth of his great-great-grandson. The emperor wanted to find out from Siku Quanshu ('Complete Books of the Four Repositories') the number of people there had been since ancient time that had great-great grandson. Indeed this was such a rare occurrence that only six people since the Tang dynasty had this opportunity. Overjoyed and proud, the emperor composed a poem to commemorate this event, which consists of the second part of the inscription.
The poem ends by a signature: 'Imperially made (yuzhi). Yours faithfully, Yongxing.'
Yongxing was the eleventh son of the Qianlong Emperor. He was an exceptional calligrapher and also an adept painter. For a brief version of his biography see Zhongguo Meishujia Renming Cidian, Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe, 1981, p.166.
Another identical imperial cloisonné enamel plaque mounted as a table was recently sold in our London Rooms, 10 May 2011, lot 145.