A book cover for a fetish publication called “Dolly Slave” by Carlo, late 1920s/1930s
I’m sad to say that I wasn’t able to dig up much information about the artist featured in this post, a French fetish illustrator from a century ago who went by the moniker, “Carlo.” However, Carlo’s illustrations themselves are very well-known in the world of vintage fetish. His strong sadomasochistic images and bondange-themed drawings adorned erotic magazines and the covers of naughty novels. Carlo’s first illustrations may have been seen in French erotic print as far back as 1909, and he was fairly prolific from about that time, and well into the 1930s.
“Slave” a fetish book cover illustrated by Carlo, late 1920s/1930s
Here’s what I do know about the somewhat mysterious “Carlo”—he was French and he seemed to be very, very well acquainted with the world of hardcore BDSM. His style is very much in line with another French erotic illustrator who was active at the same time known as “Esbey.” Both artists’ work appeared in several publications put out by Select-Bibliothèque, one of the very first publishing houses to put out fetish-oriented material, as well as other French publishing houses that catered to the thriving fetish community in Paris back in the very early 1900s (”spanking fiction” was especially popular back in those days, mon dieu!).
When I first saw Carlo’s work, it was hard to conceive that this kind of high-level kink was a thing so long ago. I mean, we’re not just talking whips, chains and stilettos here (although there is no lack of those accessories, either): Carlo’s world as he portrayed it to be in his illustrations is full of sophisticated bondage contraptions, and S&M gear and scenarios that would make Caligula blush. And if it would make Caligula blush, it’s safe to assume what you are about to see is NSFW.
If this is your kind of thing (I don’t judge and neither should you), try to track down the 1984 book Carlo, by Robert Merodack.
“The Triumphant Leather”
More vintage BDSM smut from ‘Carlo’ after the jump…