Claude Audran le Jeune (d. 1734) designed the series that these six panels are clearly based on, Les Douze Mois Grotesques, in 1708 and 1709, while he was executing the decoration of the apartments of the Dauphin, later King Louis XV, at the château de Meudon. An entry in the Comptes des Bâtiments indicates the creation of the series:
Année 1709. Maison Royales.-Peinture: à Claude Audran, autre peintre, pour un tableau reprèsentant un bureau où des singes sont à table; posé à Marly en 1708 et 1709, pour le nouveau batiment de Monseigneur à Meudon 495 livres
It was during the same period that the young Antoine Watteau (d. 1721), then just 23 years old, worked under Audran. It is probable that he collaborated on this project, while it was Alexandre-François Desportes (d. 1743) who supplied the animal figures. Rather unusually, the original designs for the Mois Grotesques do not appear to have remained at Gobelins after the first weaving for the Dauphin, which today remains in the Mobilier National, as they are not recorded in the detailed inventory taken at the workshop in 1736.
Jean Audran, brother of the designer, subsequently engraved the cartoons, which no longer exist, in 1726, which was then copied by Gotfried Rogg (d. 1742) of Augsburg in his 'Neues Unterschiedliches Bilderlaub and Groteskenwerk'. The Dauphin's Mois Grotesques set is the only suite of the Mois Grotesques recorded in the official notes at the Royal Gobelins manufacture but further weavings are known to exist. M. Fenaille, in his État Général des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1904, vol. III, pp. 73 - 80, mentions two further sets of the same approximate height as the Dauphin's version and two that are identical to the engravings by Jean Audran. One set was sold anonymously, Christie's, Paris, 17 December 2003, lot 236, while another was sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 21 June 2000, lot 180.
Interestingly there are no other examples to the designs of this lot known or noted. It is probable that the set was woven as a special commission in the Gobelins workshops, but executed by one of the weavers outside the normal confines of the Royal bookkeeping.