In spite of his French name, Martin Carlin (1730-1785 ) was born in Germany and emigrated to Paris to become an ébéniste . He settled there with other German and craftsmen and took employment in the workshop of Jean-François Oeben, whose sister he married.
He was never famous nor rich during his lifetime. Until his death in 1785, Martin Carlin was the ébéniste most frequently employed by the marchands-merciers to mount porcelain plaques on furniture; this piece is likely to have been made for one of them.
It wont be a consolation to his dead body to know that in 1972 a secretaire like this one sold for $ 312,500 and that two centuries after his death the same piece fetched exactly one million dollars on auction.