Rather a semi-erotic afterthought than a truly erotic title, the Mercier-illustrated Les métamorphoses d’Ovide (Ovid’s Metamorphoses) was commissioned by the Paris publisher La Frégate on the back of the artists’s successes with children’s titles. The sixteen colour illustrations accompany the same number of Ovid’s best-known fables, and we have included them here more to show how Mercier’s style developed than for any intrinsically erotic content, though the naked slim young women still have a clear lineage from his lovers from Un été à la campagne.

Les métamorphoses d’Ovide was produced in a limited numbered edition of 2,500 copies.