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The rabbit's potting shed

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Bedwell Lodge (made)

  • Date:

    1891 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour wash and pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Copyright 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.

As well as an accomplished story-teller, Beatrix Potter was also a keen nature artist. Her menagerie of pets included rabbits, frogs, squirrels, mice and hedgehogs. When illustrating her tales she would always sketch her fictional characters from live models and often depicted real places in the backgrounds.

During the summer of 1891, the Potter family visited Bedwell Lodge, Hertfordshire. Beatrix Potter produced several sketches of the potting-shed, including this imaginative drawing of two rabbits potting geraniums. The potting-shed at Bedwell Lodge inspired Beatrix Potter's illustration of Mr. McGregor's tool-shed in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In the story, Peter Rabbit runs into the tool-shed to escape from Mr. McGregor and hides inside a watering-can.

Physical description

Grey wash and pen and ink drawing on paper of the interior of the potting-shed at Bedwell Lodge, Hertfordshire, depicting two rabbits (one entering through the open door) potting geraniums, with a rake, broom, fork, spade, hoe and other garden tools on the right and potted geraniums and a watering-can on the left. The drawing is touched with chalky highlights.

Place of Origin

Bedwell Lodge (made)


1891 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour wash and pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Note in pencil on verso: 112 [circled] / [horizontal line, arrows at each end] / 4 ½

Drawing-pin holes


Height: 211 mm whole object, Width: 163 mm whole object, Height: 188 mm image, Width: 146 mm image

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter at Bedwell Lodge, Hertfordshire in 1891. Acquired by the V&A from Leslie Linder (1904-1973) as part of the Linder Bequest in 1973.

Descriptive line

Drawing, "The Rabbit's Potting Shed" by Beatrix Potter; Bedwell Lodge, Hertfordshire, 1891; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.1001.

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

Brief catalogue entry, no. 1001
'Hobbs and Whalley, Beatrix Potter : the V&A Collection, London, 1985'
Alfrey, N, Daniels, S & Postle, M (Eds). Art of the garden : the garden in British art, 1800 to the present day, London : Tate Publishing, 2004
Hobbs, Anne Stephenson et al., Peter Rabbit's garden : a Beatrix Potter exhibition, in association with Frederick Warne & Co., 2002
Linder, Leslie et al, Beatrix Potter 1866-1943 Centenary , London, National Book League, 1966
The enchanted world of Peter Rabbit and Winnie-the-Pooh, Tokyo : Kokusai Geijutsu Bunka Shinkōkai, 1985


Pen and ink and watercolour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Brooms; Rabbits; Sheds; Spade; Flowerpots; Garden forks; Watering cans; Tools; Rakes; Hoes; Geraniums (flowers)


Drawings; Illustration

Production Type



National Art Library

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