Claude Charles Saunier, maître in 1752.
The central plaque is modelled on Lady Templetown's design 'An Offering to Peace', of December 1777, the sacrificing nymph on the right being replaced by a figure from the Domestic Employment series (E. Meteyard, Memorials of Wedgwood, 1874, Buten Museum reprint, 1967, p. 201, pl. XXII). The identical model of plaque is found on a late 18th Century commode by David Hacker in the Neues Palais, Potsdam and is illustrated in G. Himmelheber, Die Kunst des Deutschen Möbels, Munich, 1973, fig. 273.
The plaque, which was replaced in the 19th Century, bears the incised monogram TL for Thomas Lovatt, chief ornamenter at Etruria during the latter part of the 19th Century, and one of the few Wedgwood ornamenters to sign his work. (R. Reilly, Wedgwood, London, 1989, vol. II, p. 564). Interestingly this same design of plaque in both rectangular and circular form also signed with the TL monogram, is also featured on two pieces by Weisweiler which sold recently: a console desserte which sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 22 May 2002, lot 340 and a guéridon sold from an Important Private European collection, 11-12 June 2003, lot 307.
While it is uncertain that the current late 19th Century plaques were inserted to replace 18th Century jasperware plaques versus verre eglomisé plaques or another material, this secretaire nonetheless stylistically demonstrates the influence of the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, who continued the tradition of furniture mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques as pioneered by Simon-Philippe Poirier in the 1760s. The dealer Granchez of 'Au Petit Dunkerque' introduced Wedgwood and Bentley's cameo tablets to France, and from 1787 Daguerre was Wedgwood's representative in Paris.