Joues cramoisies (Crimson Cheeks) is the only Carlo-illustrated title known to have been published both by the Librairie Artistique et Édition Parisienne Réunies and in Jean Fort’s Collection des Orties Blanches (White Nettle Collection); appearing at the same time, the Librairie Artistique’s author is given as Désiré van Rowel and the Orties Blanche’s as René-Michel Desergy, giving us the best possible identification of the van Rowel pseudonym.
The title, along with one of Carlo’s best cover designs, tells us exactly what the book is about. The Librairie Artistique’s 1935 catalogue explains that ‘It was during a very recent trip to Scotland that Désiré van Rowel, a tireless globetrotter of passionate indiscretion, got to know Mrs Magpie, private housekeeper to a notorious Laird. The housekeeper’s revealing memoirs as a great lover of the whip were written during her initiation with the Scottish tawse. Her collaboration with the Laird and his entourage of initiates is clear, and it was not without blushing that Mrs Magpie entrusts to her confidant the scathing memories of her youth under a regime with such strict rules, and how she learned to administer those same methods herself.’
If you are looking for classic Carlo, Joues cramoisies shows him at his (relative) peak.
We are grateful to Steve Mullins of the Olympia Press website (www.parisolympiapress.com) for these illustrations.