It was only a matter of time before Collot followed the example of many other illustrators and produced a set of images for one of the best-known erotic texts of all time. He rose to the occasion (no pun intended) with a set of plates illustrating the text, taking more care than usual in the composition and shading.

Gamiani, ou une nuit d’excès (Gamiani, or A Night of Excess), generally believed to have been written by Alfred de Musset, is one of the most-illustrated of French erotic novels. Based on de Musset’s experiences with George Sand and her lesbian lover, Gamiani opens with Alcide watching Countess Gamiani and her young lover Fanny enjoying one another’s bodies. Very much aroused, Alcide reveals himself and joins them, and they spend the rest of their time together sharing their intimate stories and re-enacting scenes from them.

Gamiani has been constantly in print in French; if you would like to read it in English then either the edition published in 2003 by the Erotic Print Society (with illustrations by Vania Zouravliov) or the one published by Harper Perennial in 2007 are both reasonable translations.

The Collot-illustrated Gamiani was published ‘Aux dépens d’un amateur’ (at the expense of a collector), with the instruction that ‘Cet ouvrage a été tiré à un petit nombre d’exemplaires réservés aux seuls souscripteurs’ (This work has been printed in a small number of copies reserved for subscribers only); it does not, as is usual, define the number of copies printed.