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drawing - The Forty Thieves
  • The Forty Thieves
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
  • Enlarge image

The Forty Thieves

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca.1895 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour (sepia and grey washes), pen and ink and pencil

  • Credit Line:

    The Trustees of The Linder Collection

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:LINDER TRUST.195-1994

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Primary image in watercolour (sepia and grey washes) and pen and ink over pencil on paper. Contained within rectangle pasted on, asymmetrically to the left on card: laden donkeys in foreground, two with packs and one with ornate saddle and bells. A figure emerges from the cave in the background. Branches of an olive tree, cacti and other plants in front of rocky cave. Partial border in sepia ink over pencil (partly obscured by the primary image): three groups of four pots, some partly reveal hiding thieves.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


ca.1895 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour (sepia and grey washes), pen and ink and pencil

Marks and inscriptions

'The / Forty thieves'
In sepia ink in decorative lettering, 'Forty thieves' underlined twice.

'Ali Baba loads his / three asses with the bags of gold'
Caption in sepia ink.


Height: 141 mm, Width: 215 mm

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter ca.1895. 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

Drawing, The Forty Thieves, watercolour (sepia and grey washes), pen and ink and pencil, by Beatrix Potter, Great Britain, ca.1895, Linder Collection object no. LC.21.A.5, catalogue no. 5.6

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

p.46, cat. no. 5.6
Hobbs, Anne Stevenson (compiler). The Linder Collection of the works and drawings of Beatrix Potter: catalogue of works on paper. London: The Trustees of the Linder Collection, 1996 (1999 reprint).


Watercolour; Sepia wash; Grey wash; Ink; Sepia ink; Pencil; Paper (fiber product); Card



Subjects depicted

Olive tree; Pots; Donkeys; Cacti; Cave


Drawings; Illustration; Children & Childhood

Production Type



National Art Library

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