Designer: Designed by Jean Brandely (French, active 1855–67)

Maker: Woodwork by Charles-Guillaume Diehl (French, 1811–ca. 1885)

Artist: Mounts and large central plaque by Emmanuel Frémiet (French, Paris 1824–1910 Paris)

Date: 1867

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Oak veneered with cedar, walnut, ebony and ivory; silvered-bronze mounts

Dimensions: 93 3/4 x 59 1/2 x 23 5/8 in. (238.1 x 151.1 x 60 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gift, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.197


When the prototype for this compelling cabinet, now in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in 1867, it received mixed criticism. The cabinetmaker must have been pleased with the controversial piece because he commissioned this second, nearly identical one for himself. The central plaque by the sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet commemorates the military triumph of Merovech (d. 458), leader of the Salian Franks, over Attila and his marauding Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Field in 451. In a vivid and unsettling representation, Merovech stands before his troops at the front of the chariot as it passes over the dead body of an opponent.