Jul Hanriot started his printmaking career with a series of fairly mundane frontispieces for standard French literary works by Victor Hugo, Molière, Ernest Feydeau, Crébillon fils and François-Timoléon de Choisy among others. Some time around 1882 he made the acquaintance of Charles Aubert (1851–1927), the actor and playwright best known for writing the influential L’art mimique (The Art of Pantomime, 1901). Aubert had written a series of short novelettes, Les nouvelles amoureuses (The New Lovers), which were published between 1882 and 1885 by Chez Tous les Libraires, and Hanriot was commissioned to produce frontispiece prints for each of the twenty short racy volumes.

Aubert’s stories are very tame by later standards, but had the advantage of having settings and circumstances quite imaginable by a discerning Parisian readership – and Hanriot made the most of Aubert’s imagination while staying just the right side of tasteful.