I was recently fortunate to discover good photographs of seven (out of eleven) erotic etchings by French erotic artist Paul-Emile Bécat that were published in a 1955 Eyrx edition of Fougeret de Montbron’s 1741 licentious fairy tale Le Canapé (“The Couch”). Becat, who produced erotic illustrations for nearly 100 books, worked in a technique called dry point, and the etchings seen here in monochrome were originally (in a different 1951 limited edition of Le Canapé) published in color. Don’t forget to click each picture to see the corresponding higher-resolution and uncropped image:

fondling a girl on a couch at a party

kissing a girl under a tree

two in bed

touching her breast

a genteel orgy

surrounded by revelry

an enema from her maid

title page

(I will update this post if I ever find scans of the four etchings not seen here, or any of the eleven in their color versions.)

A little about the underlying text, Le Canapé. One antiquities dealer described it as a “novella…in which the narrator is turned in to a sofa.” Quoting an academic source, the description goes on:

“The protagonist is punished for his failure to gratify Crapaudine, an old and ugly fairy, and is only released from his enchantment when he encounters a similar failure on the part of another man. The imposition of this condition suggests that sexual impotence is a condition rarely encountered, and indeed until the end of the narrative, when an elderly lawyer fails to satisfy his young bride, the couch meets with nothing but ribald sexual hedonism: in its unfolding, the narrative decries the lechery of the clergy and the prevalence of cuckoldry, both time-honored targets of social satire.”

Another source calls it “a little fairy tale in eleven chapters, often attributed to Cresset, but in reality the work of Fougeret de Montbron” in which “the hero is first transformed into a dog and then into a sofa.”

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