The central circular plaque on the fallfront of this secretaire can be dated circa 1775. The decoration is very similar to that of two other plaques of this shape and size both dated 1775, one on a secretaire in the J. Paul Getty Museum (illustrated C. Bremer-David, op. cit., p. 39, no. 47 and fully discussed in A. Sassoon, op. cit., pp. 174-176, no. 35), the other on a guéridon stamped by Carlin and Pafrat in the Jones Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, Paris, 1989, p. 359, fig. 427. This guéridon was given by Marie-Antoinette to Mrs. William Eden, later Lady Auckland, in 1787. Both plaques were painted by Jean-Jacques Pierre le jeune and are inscribed in ink 216 indicating a price of 216 livres.
The plaque on this secrétaire is of the size described as grande plaque ronde first recorded in the Sèvres records in 1764. The dealer Poirier purchased a number of plaques priced between 72 and 216 livres including two plaques rondes and another of unspecified shape for 216 livres each in the first six months of 1775. Daguerre purchased a plaque of unspecified shape and decoration for 240 livres in the first half of 1777 and three plaques for 216 livres each in 1778. Two others priced at 192 and 216 livres each are listed under pièces extraordinaires in 1770. Such plaques were intended for secretaires, commodes and cabinets as well as table tops.
In addition to Pierre le jeune, the Sèvres artists' Ledgers list Jean-Baptiste Tandart, Michel-Gabriel Commelin and Edmé-François Bouillat as painting plaques rondes of this size in 1777-79. Tandart painted 1 Plaque Ronde 1ere gr. with flowers in September 1777, a large oval plaque with basket of flowers in February 1778 and a circular plaque of the largest size with flowers in June 1779. Commelin painted a circular plaque of the largest size with flowers in August 1779. In May 1779 Bouillat painted Petites roses on two Plaques ronde 1e Bordure bleu celeste.
5 Hamilton Place, now 5 Curzon Street, London was the private residence of Léopold de Rothschild (1845-1917). Built by Henry Huth and Rogers in 1881, it was decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI panelling. Léopold de Rothschild inherited along with his two brothers the collection of his father Lionel. Unlike them, Léopold was not a collector and it is therefore probable that the Getty secretaire came from his father.