‘Anon’, as we all know, is one of the most prolific thinkers, writers and artists of all time, producing countless artworks, rhymes, songs and witticisms. In the world of erotic illustration, however, Anon often has a very particular meaning, as becomes clear when a set of illustrations is attributed to ‘A well-known artist’ or ‘A celebrated illustrator’. The tradition of a rather amateurish ‘Anon’ continues to this day, though with censorship no longer such a controlling influence, the need to remain silent about your true identity has virtually disappeared – unless of course you have your own personal reasons to remain anonymous …

In the respectable, bourgeois, well-heeled world of collectors of erotic art portfolios produced ‘for the appreciative connoisseur’, you don’t particularly need to know the name of the illustrator, simply that you like the images. Though not always the case, the better the artist the better the illustrations, and though there are good artist-illustrators who are quite comfortable being know for their erotic work, many have reputations as respectable artists to maintain, so they work either under pseudonyms or anonymously, thus joining the swelling ranks of Anon.

While many erotic works are illustrated anonymously, in most cases the style of the illustrations gives away the identity of the illustrator very easily, and of course many of the ‘connoisseurs’, and certainly the specialist galleries, know exactly who has illustrated what. But it’s always good to have a few works where nobody knows who the illustrator is – things that may never be known!


Example illustration