In chapter six of Blatchford’s version of “The Memoirs of Coral Pearl” Pearl is invited on stage to sing and dance in a Paris theatre but after a few weeks, she had a chance meeting with a man who later arranged to have some students hijack her performance and she was hissed and whistled while on stage. By the end of the evening, Pearl had had enough and decided on one final gesture, ‘to remove her drawers’ which she then handed to her associate Mr. Cremieux. The applause swelled until the din of the students could not be heard. Although the picture is not entirely true to the text Lawrence Blackmore says that no work similar to this in subject matter has surfaced during his researches and Cora Pearl seems to be the most likely connotation.
This is one of three original artworks we have by Barbosa and we are confident that all three were put forward by the artist as alternative designs for the book titled “The Memoirs of Coral Pearl, the erotic reminiscences of a flamboyant 19th-century courtesan”, published 1983 by Granada. Although Barbosa designed the dust jacket no other illustrations are present in the book. The reason for not publishing the pictures is unknown and we can only speculate as to why.
Lawrence Blackmore points out that the first publication in 1886 of ‘Mèmoires de Cora Pearl’ was greatly anticipated but proved a dull disappointment. The names of the key players were only thinly disguised and the accounts of her sexual exploits and frivolities only tamely recounted. It quickly went out of print and disappeared. In 1983 Granada published ‘The Memoirs of Cora Pearl’ edited by William Blatchford. Barbosa designed the dust jacket. Blatchford claimed to have located a later volume of Cora Pearl’s memoirs, published in 1890 after her death that was decidedly more frank and sexually explicit than its predecessor. These ‘discovered’ memoirs proved to be a hoax, the real author being Derek Parker, a former Chairman of the Society of Authors and well known for his books on astrology, co-authored with his wife.