Monkey business at Chantilly

Chantilly grande singerie

Chantilly grande singerie

I am referring to the Grande Singerie, the Great Monkey Room of the Chateau de Chantilly, one of the residences of the Bourbon-Condé family.

This room began with a white and gold rococo paneling, characteristic of the first half of 18th century. But in the 1730s the Duc de Bourbon decided to use this particular salon to display his collection of Chinese porcelain, which had become the height of fashion. He therefore commissioned the painter Christophe Huet to create a uniquely fanciful and exotic decor as a setting worthy of his treasures.

Huet worked on the existing panelling, and painted all the white surfaces with monkey motifs. The animals even invaded the doors and ceilings.

Chantilly  Grande Singerie

Chantilly Grande Singerie America

One can read many things in these images: allegories of the four seasons, of the five senses, of the favorite pastimes of the Duc de Bourbon, or more cryptic allusions. All we know for sure is that some scenes represent monkeys as servants, people as masters, and in other parts the roles are reversed.

For a 360 degrees tour of this extraordinary universe, follow this link.

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6 Comments to “Monkey business at Chantilly”

  1. Miss Kris says:

    Hi Catherine!

    What lovely images! I’ve been to Chantilly a few times and was delighted to see this post and this fabulous room again. They did a feature on this room in Art and Decorations (French)a few publications ago. I can’t wait to see your link in 360 degree tour. Thank you!!!

    ~Miss Kris~

  2. Catherine Delors says:

    Thank you! Browse away, and come back soon…

  3. l.smith says:

    Great blog. Your site was on the top page when I searched for The Infanta. Learned a lot from your The Infanta Queen post. Started clicking around learned more.

    I, too, think The Red Violin is a good movie.

  4. Catherine Delors says:

    Thank you, Diana! I wish there were a good (illustrated, of course) book on the Grande Singerie.

    As for The Red Violin, I would love to hear your impressions once you watch it.

  5. Diana says:

    Delightful! I could spend hours looking at those ceilings and trying to guess.
    As for the red violin, I haven’t seen the film yet, but now I know what to do this weekend!

    Saludos, madame

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