In 1994 the London-based Erotic Print Society produced a limited edition portfolio consisting of the the 25 prints from the 1950 Guillot edition of Initiation Amoureuse, together with a new translation of the text of Prélude charnel. Details of the original publication, together with Suzanne Ballivet’s fine illustrations, can be found here, and if you are interested in the fascinating publishing history of Prélude charnel the story can be found here.

The spread from the EPS’s Catalogue Four of 2000 advertising the reprint portfolio

Two things stand out about the EPS edition of Inititiation Amoureuse. The first is that the EPS appear not to have known anything either about the previous publishing history of the text, or about the illustrator who created this ‘erotic masterpiece’, whose ‘life and origins remain something of a mystery’. This clearly demonstrates how recent research and the advent of the internet has transformed our knowledge of the history of ‘clandestine’ publishing, for as we now know Suzanne Ballivet was, in her time, a well-known and prolific illustrator, and the illustrations for Initiation were an integral part of her professional and personal history.

The second interesting aspect of the 1994 reproductions is that the colouring of the prints not only fails to reflect the delicacy of the originals, but in many cases the actual colours have been altered. This almost certainly reflects the fact that Photoshop, first released in 1988, had only reached version 3 by 1994, and somebody had great fun checking out all the new features when working with the scans for the new edition! We leave you to decide which versions you prefer.