Martin Carlin

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Small table with Sèvres plaques, by Carlin, 1772 (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon)

Martin Carlin (ca 1730 – 1785) was a Parisian ébéniste, born at Freiburg, who was received master at Paris in 1766.

Carlin worked at first in the shop of Jean-François Oeben, whose sister he married.[1] He set up independently in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, an unfashionable quarter of Paris, where few of his wealthy clientele would have penetrated. Carlin sold his works exclusively to marchands-merciers such as Simon-Philippe Poirier[2] and his partner Dominique Daguerre, who acted as decorator-designers. It was only through these entrepreneurs that Carlin could acquire the Sèvres porcelain plaques that decorate many of his pieces. His earliest such pieces are datable by the marks on their porcelain to 1766; they followed designs supplied by the dealer Poirier. Although Martin Carlin made some larger pieces— secrétaires à abattant (drop-front secretary desks), tables, and commodes— he is best known for refined small furnishings in neoclassical taste, some of them veneered with cut up panels of Chinese lacquer, which he would also have received from the hands of the marchands-merciers.


Bonheur du jour (Table à gradin dite )

Martin Carlin, Fall-front desk, c. 1775 at Waddesdon Manor
Martin Carlin, Fall-front desk, c. 1775 at Waddesdon Manor

Bureau plat (Writing table)

  • Bureau plat, 1778, delivered to the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna and Grand Duke Paul Petrovich of Russia for the Palace of Pavlosk, Getty Museum, United States


Coffret à bijoux (Jewel case on stand) 1770 (Versailles)

Coffret à bijoux

Commode à vantaux (Commode with doors)

  • Commode à vantaux, c. 1778, inset with Pietra Dure panels (one of Carlin's greatest examples), Royal Collection, UK

Encoignure (Corner cabinet)


Music-stand and writing-table

  • Music-stand and writing-table, 1786, given by Marie-Antoinette to Mrs William Eden (later Lady Auckland), V&A, UK

Reading stand

  • Reading stand, c. 1780, V&A, UK


Secrétaire à abattant

  • Secrétaire à abattant, 1770-80, V&A, UK

Table à ouvrage

  • Table à ouvrage, 1770. delivered to the duchesse de Mazarin in 1779 for her dressing room, Getty Museum, United States
  • Table à ouvrage, 1773, Getty Museum, United States
  • Table à ouvrage, 1775, V&A, UK
  • Table à ouvrage, 1783-84, Wallace Collection, UK
  • Table à ouvrage, 1786, given by Marie-Antoinette to Mrs William Eden (later Lady Auckland), V&A, UK


  1. ^ When Oeben died in 1763, Carlin, who was living nearby, was one of his creditors (Eriksen 1974:159).
  2. ^ Other ébénistes working for Poirier were Roger Vandercruse Lacroix and Bernard II van Risamburgh


  • Svend Eriksen, Early Neo-Classicism in France pp 159 (bio.)

Further reading[edit]

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