These two elaborate cabinets are faithful reproductions of a secretaire at Waddesdon Manor signed by Adam Weisweiler (maître in 1778). Likely produced early in the 19th century, the fallfront on the Waddesdon example is set with floral-decorated Sèvres porcelain tableaux. These tableaux are most certainly replacements, added during alterations carried out on the cabinet no later than 1865 (see G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, Furniture, Clocks and Gilt Bronzes, London, 1974, vol. I, cat. 71, pp. 361-6). The original plaques likely corresponded to those appearing in undated drawings of two related secretaires. One, formerly in the Destailleur Collection, but now missing, is illustrated and discussed by Salverte, who establishes a connection between it and the Waddesdon cabinet (see C. de Salverte, Le Meuble Français d'Après les Ornemanistes de 1600 à 1789, Paris, 1930, p. 45). The other drawing was formerly in the collection of A. Sigwalt and is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale. The right-hand plaques in the drawings appear to be an artist's impression of a Sèvres plaque entitled L'Offrande à l'Amour. It is interesting to note that the present cabinets contain ormolu plaques of a similar subject. Other examples that have similar plaques in ormolu include two Riesener secrétaires à abattant in the Wallace Collection, London (see P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture - II, London, 1996, pp. 990-1004, cat. 198 & 199, F302 & F303). Interestingly, it has been suggested that the Sacrifice of Love plaques on these two examples were early 19th century substitutions (see P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1987, p. 335).
Adam Weisweiler (d.1820), an ébéniste of German origin, established his atelier in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. He worked closely with the marchand-merciers Julliot and Daguerre and the ébénistes Riesener and Beneman. Daguerre, who counted the French, Neapolitan and Russian Royal families amongst his clientele, enjoyed particular favour in England under the patronage of King George IV, and established a shop in 1788 in Piccadilly to supply the English nobility. Weisweiler remained active until 1809 or 1812, as his association with Daguerre enabled him to continue to work for the export trade during the Revolution, allowing him to avoid the bankruptcy that befell so many of his colleagues.