The Monkey Bedroom is Refreshed and Stabilized
by Merceds Santos-Miller, Director of the Rosen House
Originally appeared in the Fall 2018 — Spring 2019 Season Program Book
Caramoor founders Walter and Lucie Rosen would spend the month of September in Venice in an apartment overlooking the Grand Canal. In the early 1920s, Walter met Adolph Loewi; an art and antiques dealer with a vast number of American collectors as his clients including institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Loewi operated a gallery-showroom in the Palazzo Nani-Mocenigo. Walter would visit often, looking for objects and architectural elements for the Rosens’ townhouse in New York City and later for their country home, Caramoor.
A wonderful example is the 18th-century Louis XVI-style Monkey Bedroom, so named for the whimsical monkeys and other friendly beasts amongst peony trees and grapevines depicted on the Chinese hand-painted silk covering the walls. The silk, along with the painted wooden panels, curved doors, and the carved and parcel-gilt cartouches, came from a house near Arras, France. Walter acquired the room in August of 1928 and kept it in storage until 1938 when it was installed at Caramoor.
After more than 70 years in place at Caramoor, the room was in need of some TLC. Though the wooden panels were intact, the paint and glaze loss was severe. Nina Stanton, Caramoor Trustee, and her husband Michael, made a generous donation toward the restoration of the room, and for several weeks in the spring of 2018 a team of conservators began the painstaking work to bring the room back to its former splendor. Our attention then turned to the objects inside the room. The 18th-century Italian bed and side table were stabilized and restored. Awaiting the next round of funding is a magnificent French console table. Conservation is a never-ending process!
Take a docent-led tour of the Rosen House! Tours from August – May are by appointment and can be scheduled by calling 914.232.1252.
Main image: The room restored to its original beauty