This illustration can be confidently traced to text in the Blatchford version of ‘The Memoirs of Cora Pearl’ where Pearl enters a room and is unexpectedly surprised to see a naked man with a short moustache standing in a bath tub. Chapter nine, page 167.
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.