Mariette Lydis’s second portfolio of lesbian engravings, Sappho, was published in 1933, ‘aux frais d’un groupe d’amateurs’ (at the expense of a group of amateur collectors). A more substantial production than Lesbiennes (which had a handwritten title on the cover), Sappho consists of fifteen monochrome prints depicting women lovers, presented in a red embossed folder; the number of copies produced limited to just forty-five, all the prints being signed in pencil by Lydis. As many of the sets of engravings have been separated over the years, complete portfolios of Sappho are now extremely rare.

Sappho was a first-century poet who lived on the Greek island of Lesbos; very little of her work survives, but both her name and that of her island home have become indelibly associated with same-sex love between women.

Mariette Lydis, ‘Les Nuages’, 1934

We are very grateful to Justin Croft of Justin Croft Antiquarian Books for these images.