Ma vie de garçon (My Life as a Boy) is scraping the barrel rather as an excuse for a set of Bécat drypoints. The text first appeared in 1774 as part of a three-volume memoir entitled Les confidences réciproques, ou anecdotes de la société de Madame la Comtesses de B*** (Mutual Confidences, or Anecdotes of the Countess of B*** and her Circle).

The Countess of B*** has several adventurous (and probably fictional) friends, including Madame de Civrac and Madame d’Harville, and it is Madame de Civrac’s exploits with the Viscount of Nantel which provide the text of Ma vie de garçon. While the tale is a fairly standard fare of the sexual practices of the French rural nobility in the late eighteenth century, it is well-written, and Bécat’s illustrations add his usual skill and imagination.

The Bécat-illustrated Ma vie de garçon was published by Le livre du bibliophile, 86 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, in their pocket-sized ‘Coffret’ series.