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drawing - Gentleman mouse bowing beside a teacup
  • Gentleman mouse bowing beside a teacup
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
  • Enlarge image

Gentleman mouse bowing beside a teacup

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1903 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil on paper

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:LINDER TRUST.207-1994

  • 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 preliminary study for the finished variant of the illustration that appears on p. 25 of the 2002 edition of book, 'Out stepped a little gentleman mouse, and made a bow to the tailor!'.

Physical description

Pencil drawing of a 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

Pencil on paper


Height: 182 mm, Width: 109 mm

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter in 1903 while preparing the illustrations to The Tailor of Gloucester. 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.

Descriptive line

Pencil drawing of a gentleman mouse bowing beside a teacup; preliminary study for the finished variant illustration for The Tailor of Gloucester; drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably in 1903; Linder Collection object no. LC.23.A.1, catalogue no: 4.30.

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

Brief catalogue entry, 4.30
'Anne Stevenson Hobbs (compiler), The Linder Collection of the works and drawings of Beatrix Potter : catalogue of works on paper, London, 1999'


Pencil; Paper



Subjects depicted

Mouse; Teacup


Books; Illustration; Clothing; Textiles; Fashion

Production Type



National Art Library

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