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drawing - Lady mouse curtseying beside a tea-cup
  • Lady mouse curtseying beside a tea-cup
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
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Lady mouse curtseying beside a tea-cup

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1903 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and pencil on paper

  • 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.

The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix's favourite of her little books and the second to be privately printed prior to publication by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1903. Many of Beatrix Potter’s stories begin ‘Once upon a time…’. The Tailor of Gloucester is unusual in that the story takes place at a specific period – ‘the time of swords and periwigs’ – between about 1735 and 1785. Beatrix went to extraordinary lengths to create an authentic setting. Passing a tailor’s shop in Chelsea one day, she deliberately tore a button off her coat and took it in to be mended so she could observe at first hand the tailor’s posture, tools and workbench. She sought inspiration for the costumes in 18th-century clothes owned by her local museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum (then known as the South Kensington Museum). In March 1903 she wrote to her publisher, Norman Warne: ‘I had been looking at them for a long time in an inconvenient dark corner of the Goldsmith’s Court, but had no idea they could be taken out of the case. The clerk says I could have any article put on a table in one of the offices, which will be most convenient.’ Her sketches of the Museum's costumes are so accurate that it is possible to identify the original garments, including the mayor’s waistcoat, ‘worked with poppies and corn-flowers’.

This is a variant for the illustration that appears on p. 22 of the 2002 edition of book, 'Out stepped a little live lady mouse, and made a curtsey to the tailor! Then she hopped away down off the dresser, and under the wainscot'.

Physical description

Mouse dressed in eighteenth century dress curtseys in front of a bone china tea-cup.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1903 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and pencil on paper

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably in 1903. Note in published catalogue entry states, 'Dr Renshaw exchanged them with Nurse Edwards for an oil painting'. Acquired by the V&A from Leslie Linder (1904-1973) in 1973 as part of the Linder Bequest, a collection of ca. 2150 watercolours, drawings, literary manuscripts, correspondence, books, photographs, and other memorabilia associated with Beatrix Potter and her family.

Descriptive line

Watercolour and pencil drawing of a lady mouse curtseying beside a teacup; variant illustration for The Tailor of Gloucester; drawn by Beatrix Potter probably in 1903; Linder Bequest catalogue no: LB.793.

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

Brief catalogue entry, p.86.
'Hobbs and Whalley, Beatrix Potter : the V&A Collection, London, 1985'


Watercolour; Pencil; Paper



Subjects depicted

Teacups; Subject; Mice


Books; Illustration; Fashion; Textiles

Production Type



National Art Library

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