Used as study maquettes for figures and horses depicted in his celebrated canvases, Meissonier's (d.1891) sculptures were all modelled in wax or clay. The existence of his sculptural oeuvre became known when, two years after his death, two exhibitions were held showing a series of wax models and a small number of bronzes cast by Pierre Bingen. The first exhibition, held at the Galerie Georges Petit, consisted of eleven waxes which had been divided between Charles and Thérèse Meissonier on the death of their father. Included in this number was the maquette for the present work, Cheval de Trompette (whereabouts now unknown). Persuaded by the success of the Bingen casts and the efforts of Georges Petit, the Meissonier children approached Siot-Decauville and in 1894 the fondeur exhibited bronze editions of eight of the models, the Cheval de Trompette being one of three horse studies shown.
The original wax model of the Cheval de Trompette probably dates from 1878-79, when the posture of the prancing horse was replicated in Meissonier's preparatory drawing le Héraut de Murcie (see illustration opposite).