Early in his career as an illustrator, Rojan produced a series of ten watercolours for a complete edition of Casanova’s Memoirs; they were never used, but were rediscovered nearly a century later bound into a volume of the 1931–2 Javal & Bourdeaux edition in place of the illustrations by Auguste Leroux which were included in the published books.

One of Leroux’s illustrations from the published edition of Casanova.

Given that Leroux produced some two hundred images for the massive ten-volume Javal & Bourdeaux edition, it is impossible to know whether the unpublished Rojan illustrations were a rejected trial by the publisher, or an unsolicited submission, or even that the immense task of producing so many illustrations was more than he was prepared to commit to. Whatever the reason, it is fortunate that these wonderful images have survived, and being protected within the binding of a book have preserved their vibrant colours. They give us a unique insight into the early artistic development of a talented illustrator.

We are very grateful to Jean-Pierre Dutel of Librairie Dutel for these images. For anyone with a love of Rojan’s work, deep pockets and an eye for an investment, the Rojan-illustrated Casanova is currently available to buy from Librairie Dutel; details here.