Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

drawing - Drawing of a plaster cast featuring three ivy leaves
  • Drawing of a plaster cast featuring three ivy leaves
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
  • Enlarge image

Drawing of a plaster cast featuring three ivy leaves

  • Object:


  • Date:

    ca. 1879 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sepia watercolour over pencil on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Essentially self-taught, the young Beatrix Potter copied from nature or from books and drawing manuals, and studied the works of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner in the Royal Academy exhibitions. She was grateful that her education was largely neglected, ‘it would have rubbed off some of the originality.’ However, it was customary for girls of Beatrix’s social class to be proficient at the genteel arts, including painting and drawing, so from November 1878 to May 1883 the Potters arranged drawing lessons for Beatrix and enrolled her at the new National Art Training School in South Kensington to sit her Second Grade Art Student Certificate.

This generic student piece, probably an exercise in design for the Art Student's Certificate, is competent enough. Beatrix was even awarded an ‘Excellent’ in her examinations at the National Art Training School. However, her drawings from this period convey a dark and listless formality that seems in retrospect to be at odds with the light humour and exuberance of her imaginative book illustrations. Beatrix remained sceptical of the value of formal art training: ‘Painting is an awkward thing to teach except the details of the medium. If you and your master are determined to look at nature and art in two different directions you are sure to stick.’

Physical description

Sepia watercolour drawing on paper of a plaster plaque or cast featuring three ivy leaves on a stem pointing upwards. The entire image is shaded and incorporates a rectangular frame.


ca. 1879 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Sepia watercolour over pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Pinholes in the corners and middle of edges


Height: 383 mm Size of paper, Width: 279 mm Size of paper

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter ca. 1879, probably as an exercise in design for the Art Student's Certificate. Given by Leslie Linder (1904-1973) to the National Book League (now the Book Trust) in 1970 as part of a representative selection of Beatrix Potter’s work. This selection, comprising 279 drawings and 38 early editions and now known as the Linder Collection, was acquired on long-term loan by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1989 and remains the property of a charitable trust, The Linder Trust.

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

Brief catalogue entry, no. 1.7
'Anne Stevenson Hobbs (compiler), The Linder Collection of the works and drawings of Beatrix Potter : catalogue of works on paper, London, 1999'


Watercolour; Sepia; Paper (fiber product)


Drawing (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Plaques (flat objects); Ivy; Ivy leaves; Leaves; Plaster casts



Production Type



National Art Library

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.