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Sketch of the garden at Gwaynynog

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Gwaynynog (made)

  • Date:

    30/06/1909 - 04/07/1909 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and pencil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Frederick Warne & Co., Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is one of the world's best-loved children's authors and illustrators. She wrote the majority of the twenty-three Original Peter Rabbit Books between 1901 and 1913. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Frederick Warne, 1902) is her most famous and best-loved tale.

Before her marriage in 1913, Potter would accompany her family to Scotland, Wales or the Lake District for holidays. From 1903 one of Potter's favourite haunts was Gwaynynog in Denbigh, the old rambling home of her uncle and aunt, Fred and Harriet Burton. The house features in her unfinished story of two bats, Flittermouse and Fluttermouse, who live 'amongst the dusty rafters'. The garden at Gwaynynog inspired another unpublished story, 'Llewellyn's Well', written about 1911, and also the setting of one of Potter's best-loved published tales, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. On her first visit to Gwaynynog in 1903 Potter described the garden in her journal as 'the prettiest kind of garden, where bright old fashioned flowers grow amongst the currant bushes'. She visited Gwaynynog again in March 1909 while working on the illustrations to her tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Adept at sketching outdoors, she produced skilful work quickly and soon amassed enough background sketches 'to finish up the F. Bunnies without further delay.'

Gardens intrigued Potter and inspired the settings of several books, including the tales of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and Tom Kitten. Adopting an animal's perspective, she delighted in sketching objects that an inquisitive rabbit might find appealing: potting sheds, cold frames, water butts, trellises, winding paths, box hedges and vegetable patches. In an ingenious blending of reality and fantasy, Potter incorporated her background sketches into her book illustrations with little modification, positioning her animal characters with subtle humour and a keen sense of beauty. This drawing is probably a background study for the illustration on p.42 (2002 edition) of the rabbits watching Mr. McGregor entering his house.

Physical description

Watercolour and pencil drawing on paper of a garden scene with a garden path leading to an arch in the background. The path is bordered by low box hedges and tall flowerbeds of pink flowers (phlox). With large overarching trees in the background.

Place of Origin

Gwaynynog (made)


30/06/1909 - 04/07/1909 (made)


Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Gwaynynog / June 30th to July 4th'
Pencil inscription on recto bottom right

'H.B.Potter An Old Garden in Wales'
Pencil inscription on verso

'June 30th to July 4 '11[?]' [But probably drawn in 1909]
Ink inscription on verso.


Height: 252 mm, Width: 176 mm

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter at Gwaynynog, Denbigh, between 30th June and 4th July 1909? Acquired by the V&A from Leslie Linder (1904-1973) as part of the Linder Bequest in 1973.

Descriptive line

Watercolour drawing of the garden at Gwaynynog, Denbigh, by Beatrix Potter, dated 30 June to 4 July [probably 1909] ; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.935.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Brief catalogue entry, no. 935.
'Hobbs and Whalley, Beatrix Potter : the V&A Collection, London, 1985'


Watercolour; Pencil; Paper (fiber product)


Drawing (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Vegetable gardens; Trees; Hedges; Flower gardens; Gardens; Flowers (plants); Paths



Production Type



National Art Library

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