A native of Steinbach, Germany, Diehl (d. 1885) settled in Paris in 1840. He established a large atelier at 39, rue Saint-Sébastien, where by 1870 he employed no less than 600 craftsmen. Diehl simultaneously manufactured all kinds of coffrets - liquor cabinets, games boxes, jewellery caskets - as well as small furnishings - lady's work tables, games tables and meubles de marriage. His production included both ordinary pieces and deluxe objects, among them those executed especially for the various international exhibitions.
The model for the present table was made for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878. The naturalistic form would have been considered highly avant-garde at the time. The floral marquetry top and frieze inlaid with butterflies, together with the grasshoppers and tortoise mounts, combine aesthetic and Japonism influences and herald the Art Nouveau style. See an almost identical table sold Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 7 April 2009, lot 408 (45,150 Euros).