Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

18th Century Title Page Examples


(No. 1 on my checklist)

[First Edition]. 12mo. [156mm x 95mm.]. 2 volumes. Vol.1: [1-3] 4-227 [228 blank]; Vol.2: [1-3], 4-255 [256 blank]. 25 lines of type per page except for Volume 1 at pp. 194-227, which contains 29 lines each page. Volume 2 contains two paragraphs describing a homosexual encounter observed by Fanny at pp.177-179. Printed by Thomas Parker.

The first volume is believed to have been first published in Nov. 1748; with the second volume being published in Feb. 1749.

(Christie's: Sale 3537, Lot 3. Foxon: p.60, A.  British Library: P.C.27.a.44.  Bibliothèque Nationale: ENFER-288 and 289)

Image Source: Christie's Auction



(No. 2 on my checklist)

2 volumes in-12 (163 x 97 mm). An inset plate in the mezzotint (of 13). Volume I: 211 pp. ; volume II: 231 pp. 27 lines per page and ornaments on the titles. illustrated with 13 plates in the mezzotint (6 in the first volume and 7 in the second)

(Poul Steen Larsen: John Cleland's 'Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure', a Bibliography of the Earliest Editions, Copenhagen: 1968, unpublished typescript held at the British Library. Christie's: Sale 19122, Lot 4)

Image Source: Christie's Auction


(No. 3 on my checklist)

12mo. [164mm x 94mm.]. pp. [i-vi] [I] 2-273 [274 blank]. Printed on laid paper. 2 headpieces.

Published in the form of 11 letters (the last mislabled 'XV'), this is Cleland's rework of the original and does not contain the sexual details found in the first edition. Reprinted by William Dugdale [London: H. Smith, 1841] as Memoirs of the Life of the celebrated Miss Fanny Hill

(Foxon: p.60 (description of Dingwall copy).  British Library: C.133.a.9.  Bibliothèque Erotique Gérard Nordmann, Christies Sale #5447 / Lot 134, December 14, 2006]

Image Source: Christie's Auction


(No. 4 on my checklist)

London: printed for G. Fenton in the Strand, [1755-1759?], 2 volumes, 12mo, 232pp. + 252pp

Date is unknown but this range is the date the auction listed. Also, per the auction description, "The copy of this edition reproduced in Eighteenth Century Collections Online has the front endpaper inscribed and dated 1759, indicating that this edition must have been printed by 1759 at the very latest."

(Auction: Lyon & Turnbull, Lot 167, 13 Jul 2022)

Image Source: Lyon & Turnbull



(No. 5 on my checklist)

12mo. [158mm x 97mm.]. Vol.1: [1-3] 4-228 [228 blank]; Vol.2: [1-3], 4-250 [?251-2 blank]. 28 lines of type on all pages. 2 frontispieces and 8 hand-colored mezzotints in each volme.

The ornament on the title page is similar, not identical, to the first edition. The homosexual passage is also omitted in this edition. Foxon states the frontis in volume 1 is probably a later insertion or replacement. The basic design of the plates is the same as some of the engravings attributed to Gravelot in a 1766 edition. Only 2 copies are known to exist: The British Library and in the Nordmann collection.

(Ashbee: Vol.3, p.65 #1.  Foxon: p.60, B.  British Library: P.C.27.a.44.  Eros invaincu: 53.  Bibliothèque Erotique Gérard Nordmann, Christies Sale #5445 / Lot 94, April 27, 2006)

Image Source: Koller International Auctions, 9/24/2016


(No. 4 on my French translations checklist)

In-18 (130 x 80 mm) 2 volumes in one. Part 1: 5-111pp w/frontispiece + 8 engravings; Part 2: 5-128pp w/frontispiece + 5 engravings. The plates are hors texte on thick white paper engraved by Elluin after Borel. Printed on blue tinted, thin laid paper. Known as the Cazin edition.

Based on the copy I viewed on Gallica, the illustrations in that book have the frontispiece + five engravings in the first part and, no frontispiece + 9 engravings in the second part.

(Ashbee: Vol.3 p.73, #3.  Bibliothèque Nationale: ENFER-291.  Bibliothèque Erotique Gérard Nordmann, Christies Sale #5445 / Lot 96, April 27, 2006)

View the engravings

Image Source: BNF Gallica



(No. 9 on my French translations checklist)

12mo. 2 volumes in one. 101pp., 116pp. Title page framed. Frontispiece + 3 engravings in the first volume only [not of the Cazin edition].

(Ashbee: Vol.3 p.74, #8)

Per the bookseller: "Pirated copy, after the Cazin edition...Although the title-page states that the book was published in London, the watermarks in the paper (which contain the Bern coat of arms) suggest that the paper was produced in or near Bern, making a Swiss printer and publisher much more likely".

Image Source: Antiquariaat FORUM


(No. 10 on my French translations checklist)

In-4. 235pp. 2 frontis pieces + 35 engravings attributed to Delroche. Enriched with 2 preparatory drawings for the etchings of plates 14 and 16, lines in black ink on gray wash, 14 x 8.5 cm, bistre versos

(Dourot 21 May 2021: Sale 2, lot 281.)

Image Source: Marie--Saint Germain



(No. 12 on my checklist)

London: Printed in for G. Fenton in the Strand. M.DCC.LXXXI. [1781]

12mo. 2 volumes. Vol.1: 172pp. Vol.2: 187pp.

From the auction listing: ..."was issued unillustrated but is enriched with 12 very explicit plates (mezzotints and aquatints), from at least two different illustrated editions (some prob. from the ed. of ca. 1760, extremely rare)."

(Ashbee: Vol.3, p.66 #3. Arenberg Auctions: Lot 953)

Image Source: Invaluable Auction Listing


(No. 17 on my checklist)

2 volumes in 1, duodecimo in sixes (180 x 105 mm). Engraved title and 16 engraved plates including the frontispiece, all hand-coloured; most attributed to Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811), the first three plates in volume 2 evidently the work of another artist. Pagination in volume 1 beginning at 13 but the text complete; without final blank leaf M5 in volume 2, possibly as issued.

(Christie's Auction: Nordmann, Lot 136; and Tony Feke, Lot 57.)

Image Source: Christie's Auction