Rococo to Revolution

Inspired by the previous post, I’ve dug out all the French art that I have. I’ve been interested in French painting of the 18th Century long before I got on to the internet. Much of it is playfully erotic and you always get the sense that a spanking might be just around the corner when you’re walking around a gallery filled with the work of Boucher or Fragonard.

Hot Cockles by Fragonard Hot Cockles

To begin with two paintings that both have the same title: Hot Cockles. At the top is the Fragonard picture that featured in the BBC documentary, but you might prefer the other which shows a teenage girl as the ‘penitent’.  The girl is pointing at a handsome young lad who is being restrained by another girl. The boy has a guilty smirk on his face but personally I think it was the old priest wot done it! This one is by Madame Lescot.

Woman whipped by Cupid - Fragonard Woman Whipped by Cupid - Unknown

Moving towards the realms of erotica, The Woman Whipped by Love is also by Fragonard. A satyr holds the writhing woman across his knee and presents her bare bottom to Cupid who is whipping it with a bunch of roses.

The pen and ink drawing depicts exactly the same subject but in a more restrained and classical style. I couldn’t find any details about this at all, but I’m calling it French school of the 18th Century.


This fine engraving would surely be classed as erotica today. But in an era when bare bottom punishments were an accepted part of everyday life who’s to say that there’s anything untoward about it? Bawdy and irreverent but not causing real offence to anyone, I look at it as the 18th Century equivalent of the 1970s National Lampoon cover (which has the same detail of one shoe lying on the floor).

I don’t know the artist but I’m assuming he’s French because of the note that the tutor has left on the desk, “Je ne pardonne a persone” – I don’t forgive anyone.

The latter part of the 18th Century was a time of great political unrest, upheaval and revolution. And what better way to quell female rebels than with a good spanking!?

nunbirched palaisroyale

JS666 sent me his own scans of these two drawings. A posh lady whipped for defacing a portrait of M. Necker at the Palais Royal shows an event that probably really happened, as did the public birching of nuns through the streets of Paris.


Finally, JS sent me this too. Dated 1774, this one really is good old vintage porn!

3 thoughts on “Rococo to Revolution”

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