Franois Linke (d. 1946) was undoubtedly the most important Parisian bniste of his time. Having served an apprenticeship in his home town of Pankraz, Bohemia, the young Linke arrived in Paris in 1875 and set up independent workshops at 170, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine in 1881 and later also at 26, place Vendme. By the time of the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, Linke's worldwide reputation as a master of high quality individualism and inventiveness was already established and unmatched by his contemporaries. However, with a huge stand, placing his extravagant pieces in room settings, and winning the Medaille d'Or for his Grand Bureau, Linke's participation in the Exposition was to be the pinnacle of his career and led critics of the exhibition, such as Charles Dambreuse, to comment: "L'Exposition de la maison Linke est le gros vnement de l'histoire du meuble d'art en l'an de grce 1900" (see Ch. Dambreuse, L'Art Industriel l'Exposition de Meuble de Style - M. F. Linke). His success at the 1900 Exposition afforded Linke a high degree of financial stability and allowed him to pursue new markets by exhibiting at subsequent international fairs, such as the 1904 World's Fair in St Louis, in Lige in 1905, and at the Franco-British exhibition in London in 1908.
Like the inventories of contemporaries such as Beurdeley and Dasson, Linke's oeuvre included copies and adaptations of the distinct styles of 18th century important and royal French furniture. However, his most extravagant exhibition pieces combined, as Dambreuse expressed it, "la plus exquise floraison du style Louis XV", popularised by the writings of the Goncourt Frres, with the new Art Nouveau style, championed in Paris by Samuel Bing.
Linke's collaborator for the design and finish of the mounts for these "modles entirement nouveaux" and, most probably, for this extravagant three-leaf screen, was the sculptor Lon Messag. In a volume of designs for furniture, bronzes dors and silver, published in 1890 from his address at 40, rue Sedaine, Messag interpreted the traditional Louis XV style, albeit with distinct flourishes of the art nouveau. Whilst the present screen is essentially Louis XV in conception, incorporating such elements as the dragon, reminiscent of those found on the celebrated commode by Charles Cressent (see Wallace Collection, no. 177[F85]), the sinewy, organic form of the mounts, in particular of the bacchante caryatid, is a classic indication of Messag's collaborative hand.