S O L D 

Archived title – now sold out


Limited to only 22 large format copies

256 pages and over 12 inches by 8 inches


The lure of devil worship, debauchery
blasphemy and pornography…

the complete illustrated account of the vile and
infamous essay on woman

Limited to only XXII
large format copies


Inspired by the mysterious carved numeral ‘XXII’
found inside the infamous Hell Fire Caves constructed by
Sir Francis Dashwood in the middle of the 18th century






256 pages
and over 12 inches by 8 inches

Originally dedicated both to a prostitute and to an Archbishop with an insulting inscription (obliquely referring to Jesus Christ) below an erect phallus, the ‘Essay on Woman’ was both an erotic satire and a political attack on hypocrisy writtenat a time when such publications (however few) would ensure arrest and possibly execution.

Composed from ten chapters which detail the notorious Hell Fire Club its membership and influence in the day, drawn from an immense number of original letters, pamphlets, drawings and private memoirs plus the only surviving fragments of the obscene and pornographic poem ‘The Essay on Woman’ composed by members of the Hell Fire Club and privately printed by them in 1763 in an edition of only 12 copies, one contemporary example is preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London whilst the second is at Cornell University in the United States.

The illustrated history here presented (by Andre Deutsch) was originally published forty five years ago and now scarce, we have secured precisely XXII copies which are for the first time deluxe bound both for the collector and the Initiate alike.

A superbly detailed and profusely illustrated account of the scandal that exposed the Hell Fire Club, its founder Sir Francis Dashwood and its members both in Parliament and at the Royal Court. Drawing deeply upon the political and satiric literature of the time, reproducing dozens of rare illustrations from contemporary pamphlets and handwritten sources this is the full and final account of that most damnable and disgraceful piece of literature ‘The Essay on Woman’.



The volume is hand bound in luxuriously soft ebony kidskin, hand gilt with 22 carat gold leaf.

Plum coloured silk endpapers gilt with the Inner Temple Lamp of the Hell Fire Club, inner leaves of period marbled paper hand made at the prestigious Payhembury studio, all three edges of the book hand stained in plum ink, dashed with scarlet and an irregular pattern of Dutch Gold applied by hand.

Presented in a large slipcase covered with plum silk.