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drawing - Study of a crow, with a faintly sketched background
  • Study of a crow, with a faintly sketched background
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
  • Enlarge image

Study of a crow, with a faintly sketched background

  • Object:

    drawing

  • Date:

    1919 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    watercolour with pencil on card

  • Museum number:

    BP.1140(b)

  • 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.

In the 1890s, before becoming a published author, Beatrix Potter wrote out versions of, and made illustrations for, Aesop’s fables. Potter’s illustrations of well-known tales by other authors reveal her ability to bring the tales into her own imaginative world, her illustrations characterised by animal characters rendered with their natural behaviours and anatomy in mind.

She came back to her early interest in Aesop in 1918 with the publication of The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (Frederick Warne), based on the fable of ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse’. Potter then continued developing ideas based on Aesop’s fables in relation to her next book, which she planned as an amalgam of fables featuring Miss Jenny Crow and a Fox. She sent a draft to her publishers, Frederick Warne & Co., writing, ‘I very much hope this may find favour? As I have (perhaps rashly!) started some of the pictures. Also crow shooting starts on Saturday so I have hopes of both models & pies.’ Her publishers, however, were unconvinced, replying: ‘it is not Miss Potter, it is Aesop.’

This study of a crow with an open beak may relate to ‘The Fox and the Crow’ and could well have been made at this time, in 1919. But, as noted above, Potter’s engagement with Aesop’s fables started considerably earlier. See also museum numbers Linder Bequest BP.1140(a) and BP.1140(c).

Physical description

A sheet of card with a study of a crow with its beak open finished in watercolour. An oval background is indicated in light pencil marks.

Date

1919 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

watercolour with pencil on card

Dimensions

Height: 152 mm support, Width: 110 mm support

Object history note

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 study of a crow, possibly relating to Aesop's 'The Fox and the Crow'; by Beatrix Potter; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.957.

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

Hobbs, Anne Stevenson, and Joyce Irene Whalley, eds. Beatrix Potter: the V & A collection: the Leslie Linder bequest of Beatrix Potter material: watercolours, drawings, manuscripts, books, photographs and memorabilia. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985. p.104; no.957
p.104; no.957
Hobbs, Anne Stevenson, and Joyce Irene Whalley, eds. Beatrix Potter: the V & A collection : the Leslie Linder bequest of Beatrix Potter material : watercolours, drawings, manuscripts, books, photographs and memorabilia. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985.

Materials

Watercolour; Pencil; Card

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Natural history; Crows; Cheese; Birds; Illustrations; Fables; Food

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Archive of Art and Design

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