"Exquisite" was the verdict of Claude Audran's contemporaries when asked to describe his work. Born in Lyon to a family of engravers, he moved north to work as a decorative painter for Louis XIV at his palaces of Versailles and Fontainebleau. Audran painted walls, coaches, and harpsichords as well as designing patterns for embroidery, church vestments, stained glass windows, and Savonnerie carpets. He was hired as a designer at the Gobelins manufactory in 1699 and appointed curator of the Palais de Luxembourg five years later.
Audran's delicate arabesque and singerie decorations, in which fashionably dressed monkeys ape human behavior, influenced other artists, including his pupil Jean-Antoine Watteau. Audran's works were so popular in Sweden that the Swedish monarch twice tried to tempt him to work for the Swedish court. These efforts were unsuccessful, but four thousand of Audran's drawings ended up in Sweden and are still part of the Swedish royal collection. The Swedish architect Carl Cronstedt's purchase of them from Audran's estate showed that Audran's work remained popular after his death.