On pages 245-246 of his famous Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the bibliographer of erotica Henry Ashbee (writing as Pisanus Fraxi) reproduced substantial chunks of a letter omitted from the more common edition of a work called Part The Second Of The Exhibition of Female Flagellants. The “curious and facetious letter” contained advice to the editor respecting illustrations for the book.
I can only say that for material first written prior to 1885, this is awfully familiar stuff, instantly recognizable to anybody who has run a spanking blog and fielded comments from some of the more fanatical fetishists out there. Apparently for as long as there have been fetishes, there have been people who want to make sure that their fetish material is uncontaminated by anything that doesn’t match the fantasy playing in their minds’ eyes.
Goes the letter:
“I hope (a hope the title seems to encourage me in,) [the book] will consist of a display of Female Backsides, for though I think a Ladies Bum uncovered an agreeable and diverting object, I would not give a farthing to see a man’s Arse. This I believe is only agreeable to persons of a certain description, too bad to be countenanced.
But to see the representation of an agreeable young Lady having her petticoats pulled up, and her pretty pouting Backside laid bare, and seeming to feel the tingling stripes of a rod, is amusing enough: such is that excellent print of yours, the Countess Du Barre’s Whim, which is nearly perfect in its kind. I would therefore, have your book contain such subjects and such descriptions.
Now a word or two to the engraver. Let him pourtray the Lady’s Backside, which no doubt will be the principal figure in the piece, round, plump, and large; rather over than under the size, which the usual proportion of painters and statuaries would allow; let him in general present it full and completely bared to the eye; though in some plates for variety, he may give it us sideling, or a little bit of the Ladies under-petticoat or shift, shading some part of it, and, let it be remembered, that if he has that complete knowledge of his subject I imagine he has, and is a man of genius, a large field is open before him to display it in. He may show us several different sorts of Backsides, all of them natural, and proper ; all of them elegant and handsome (for there is almost as much difference in tails as in heads) but not all alike; he certainly will not give the little round firm backside of fifteen to five and thirty, nor the full mellow bum of the middle aged Lady, to the boarding school Miss.”