This commode, with its japonaise-style lacquer panels, resembles closely a commode, possibly by Bernard van Risenburgh II, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Acquired by the museum in 1882, it forms part of the Jones Collection (see Peter Thornton, John Jones - Collector of French Furniture, Apollo, March 1972, pl. XI.).
Maxime Secretant established a workshop producing fine quality furniture in the 18th century style at 74, rue Amelot, Paris. For some time he worked in association with his half-brother Léon Duval who had been an apprentice with Gervais-Maximilien-Eugène Durand, the cabinet-maker much regarded for his 18th century style furniture.
It is exceptionally rare to find a piece of branded furniture by Secretant, indeed, none of his work has passed through the salerooms in recent times. As described in the catalogue entry, each mount is initialled in the casting, however, the use of the last initial in the triology M.S.L is curious, as is the use of the dolphin emblem and the shield in the marque au fer. The word dauphin, of course, was used as a title to the heir apparent to the French throne. Its use, here in the marque au fer, is not clear. It does not appear to be an inventory mark, but may well have been used by Secretant as an indication of his standing with an associate.
Further research may disclose a collaboration between Linke and Secretant and that some of his production may have been supplied to Linke. This may also explain the use of the L on the metalwork.
In light of the economic pressures of the time Secretant had to sell the contents of his workshop by auction at L'Hôtel Drouot on 26 November 1935 and and the present commode may well have been accquired at that time by the present vendor's family.
A commode by Franois Linke, of this model, with takamakie and hiramakie lacquer panels was sold at Sotheby's, London, 28 February 1997, lot 227. A virtually identical commode with marque au fer BEURDELEY was sold in these rooms, 31 October 1996, Lot 200.