This is a very rare embossed leather panel made during the Regence era at the beginning of the 18th century. The Regence is the period in French history between 1715 and 1723, when King Louis XV was a minor and the land was governed by a Regent, Philippe d'Orléans, the nephew of Louis XIV of France. This beautiful piece depicts a young teenager trying to teach violon to a monkey. For centuries, people’s fascination with these simian creatures has been documented in both fine and decorative art, often depicting them dressed up and aping human behavior. If you have studied art history you probably know that the term for such scenes is singerie, from the French meaning monkey trick. Monkeys have been used by artists for mocking, mirroring and expressing man’s foibles for centuries. Singerie per se didn’t come into its own until the 18th century with the work of French artists Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin for instance, well known for his painting "The Monkey Painter" circa 1740. But perhaps the most amazing example is that of Christophe Huet’s Grande Singerie at the Château de Chantilly. Painted in 1735 for the Duke of Bourbon, Louis-Henri de Condé, the reception rooms at the palace depict allegorical designs of monkeys, in mostly mandarin attire, pursuing activities of everyday life in a satirical manner. This panel itself has minor scratches and dents which can be seen due to the age. A certificate of authenticity is provided. Circa date 1715-1725. Dimensions 7¼"high/ 7¾"diameter.
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