Gamiani is one of the most perennially popular and most-often illustrated of all erotic texts, and here we have one of several anonymous artists trying their hand at a set of sanguine (blood-red) drawings to accompany this fantastic and salacious text. Gamiani was first published in 1833, and is generally believed to have been written by Alfred de Musset. Subtitled ‘Two Nights of Excess’, and 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. The varied scenarios in the narrative include sexual encounters with a monkey, a donkey, and a hanged man. The unsigned plates from the first illustrated edition of Gamiani have been variously attributed to Achille Devéria and Octave Tassaert.

This set of plates is typical in style and well-executed for the period, and show some mastery of composition and technique. Various attributions to known artists have been suggested, but none authenticated.

This clandestine edition of Gamiani was published in a limited numbered and boxed edition of 250 copies, ‘par les soins et au profit exclusif d’un groupe d’amateurs’ (produced with care for the exclusive benefit of a group of amateur collectors), with the caution that ‘la vente au public est rigoureusement interdite’ (sale to the public is strictly prohibited).