Tales from the Dressing Table

Mar­quis Franz von Bay­ros was born in Zagreb in 1866, as the son of a Span­ish noble­man. He became an artist, stand­ing out amongst his con­tem­po­raries for his entic­ing and del­i­cate graphic style. He drew a series of erotic draw­ings, depict­ing worldly beau­ties in com­pro­mis­ing posi­tions. One of his erotic port­fo­lios, ‘Erzahlun­gen vom Toi­let­ten­tisch’ (‘Tales from the Dress­ing Table’), caused a court­case and made Von Bay­ros famous.

Von Bay­ros was born in Zagreb, in present-day Croa­tia. At the age of 17, he passed the entrance exam for the Vienna Acad­emy with Eduard von Engerth. Von Bay­ros mixed in ele­gant soci­ety and soon belonged to the cir­cle of friends of Johann Strauss II, whose step­daugh­ter Alice he mar­ried in 1896. The next year, von Bay­ros moved to Munich.

In 1911, the Munich police per­se­cuted him because of his illus­tra­tions and forced him into exile from Ger­many. He drew about 2000 illus­tra­tions in all his life, for books such as Dante’s ‘Div­ina Com­me­dia’ and those by Hans Bartsch. His legacy is a won­der­ful col­lec­tion of lovely, deca­dent erotic but ele­gant mas­ter­pieces, with a love for every small­est beau­ti­ful detail, rarely found else­where. Franz von Bay­ros died in Vienna on 3 April 1924.