Martin Carlin (French, ca. 17301785)
Oak veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, stained sycamore and mahogany drawers, gilt–bronze mounts, Sèvres plaques; H. 32 1/2 x W. 25 7/8 x D. 16 in. (82.6 x 65.7 x 40.6 cm)
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1958 (58.75.48)
Martin Carlin is known to have made at least eleven such bonheurs-du-jour, seven of which were signed by him. Raised on four slender curving legs, these tables are mounted with seventeen Sèvres plaques painted with delicate floral ornament, specially ordered for this purpose. Twelve of the plaques on this table bear the date-letter for 1768, the year that Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XV, bought hers from the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier. It is possible that this desk was the one that belonged to her.