Based on Edmond Rostand's La Princesse Lointaine, written for Sarah Bernhardt in 1895, L'Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli was commissioned from the author Robert de Flers by the Parisian publisher Henri Piazza.
By the time De Flers had completed his manuscript, Mucha had only three months to prepare 134 coloured lithographs before the edition was due to go to print.
Mucha later wrote of the experience: 'We worked on four stones simultaneously. I did some of the drawings straight onto the stone. Other things, particularly the decorative edgings, I drew on tracing paper which was then passed on to the draughtsmen who continued the work with the colours I specified. I hardly had time to sketch out the motif for an ornament when they came and took it from my hands and got down to work on it.'
Ilsée was given an enthusiastic reception by the critics. Czech and German editions were later published in 1901 in Prague by B. Koci.