Chateau de Chantilly, Oise, France. Petite singerie: “Small Monkeys Room” by Christophe Huet Singerie is the French word for “Monkey Trick”. It is a genre depicting monkeys apeing human behavior, often fashionably attired, intended as a diverting sight, always with a gentle cast of mild satire.
Typically seen on the walls of decoratively painted rooms, Singeries featured monkeys aping humans, dressed in ornate costumes and performing human tasks. Today, you can also find Singeries on tapestries, fabrics, wallpapers and painted on furniture. With its whimsical design, these elaborate murals show frocked monkeys as merrymakers, musicians, sculptors, painters, soldiers and even beauticians!
Iris Barrel Apfel—fashion muse, decorator, and cofounder of Old World Weavers—wearing Chado Ralph Rucci and jewelry of her own design in the New York City apartment she shares with her husband, Carl. The living room’s bleached-oak boiserie is 18th-century French, and the door hardware is by P. E. Guerin; the screen is also French, while the chair at left, covered in an Old World Weavers tapestry fabric, is 17th-century Sicilian.
There is no shortage of monkey decor in Iris Barrel Apfel’s New York City Apartment, as seen in the picture above. Monkey motifs could also be found in many of the Jazz Age speakeasies (which have become so popular today, but that’s another blog), appropriate venues considering the kind of monkey business that went on in those establishments. Take Manhattan’s Monkey Bar, dating back to 1936, still has original murals and light fixtures featuring monkeys.
Renowned illustrator Ed Sorel was commissioned to paint a three panel mural paying homage to the great Jazz Age figures who once sailed through the saloon doors.
Monkeys imply impishness, a slightly naughty trait. There are many clever ways to incorporate some monkeying around in your home.
Safari Monkey Banana Holder is so cute! It is the perfect way to store your fruit. It is sure to be a focal point in your kitchen. Playful monkeys create a table setting as diverse and fascinating as the wild plains of the Serengeti.
Safari Monkey Nut Bowl is a great way to serve up your favorite nuts atop your bar or counter.
Looking for some more inspiring ways to add some lighthearted and frolicsome accessories? Look at:
Lalique clear crystal monkey sculptures; Gold Fancy Monkey Notecards from The Printery; Scalamandre Chinoise Fabric; Schumacher’s Singeries wallpaper; and one of my favorites, the Monkey Birthday Shoe by Charlotte Olympia.
Inspired by the Chinese horoscope, this unique pair is designed to celebrate the twelve Zodiac year signs. The Monkey Birthday shoe features a gold plated animal accessory, embellished with Swarovski crystals and an eye-catching zodiac embroidery to match the Chinese red silk cord that highlights each shoe.
Have I inspired you to add a little Monkey Business to your home or wardrobe? After all, don’t we all need a little silliness once in a while?
As always, thanks for reading! Stay well, 🙂