Prosper Mérimée’s novella Carmen, the story of a fated romance between a gypsy girl and a young soldier, was a continuing source of inspiration for Picasso. Made famous by Georges Bizet’s opera, its picturesque Andalusian setting and cast of bullfighters and mantilla-bedecked damsels evoked vivid associations for the artist of his home country. In 1949, at the suggestion of his friend, the writer Louis Aragon, Picasso had produced eight aquatints to accompany the text, only four of which were finally issued at the time. Fifteen years later, again at Aragon’s instigation, the artist issued the four unpublished plates to accompany Le Carmen des Carmen, a facsimile edition of the book which he had adorned with drawings in 1958. Thirty impressions of Femme à la mantille avec une fleur were published in the deluxe edition. As far as we know, this example, presumably intended as gift to Aragon, is the only one that we are aware of to have been hand-coloured by the artist.