Pietro Aretino, Italian renaissance author, playwright, poet, satirist and blackmailer, has for centuries been an inspiration for later erotic writers and illustrators, and his Ragionamenti (Reasonings) of 1534–6 provided Bécat and Éditions de la Nef d’Argent with yet another reason for producing a set of classic Bécat drypoints.

In the first of this pair of dialogues, set in ancient Rome, Nanna and Antonia sit under a fig-tree and discuss the life options open to Nanna’s daughter, Pippa – should she become a nun, a wife or a prostitute? In the follow-up dialogue, comprising the second volume, Nanna teaches her daughter Pippa all about the relationships between prostitutes and their clients.

Originally published in 1944 in a two-volume boxed set, this is the post-war single volume edition, produced in a numbered edition of 6,000 copies.