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drawing - The Fox and the Crow
  • The Fox and the Crow
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
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The Fox and the Crow

  • 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(c)

  • 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 illustration is based on the fable of ‘The Fox and the Crow’ and was probably made for the planned 1919 book. But, as noted above, Potter’s engagement with Aesop’s fables started considerably earlier. See museum numbers Linder Bequest BP.1140(a) and BP.1140(b) for earlier versions.

Physical description

An illustration in an oval format showing a crow with a piece of cheese in its mouth perched on a branch, a fox looking up at the crow.

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: 91 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 illustration to Aesop's 'The Fox and the Crow'; by Beatrix Potter, ca. 1919; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.958.

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.958
p.104; no.958
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

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

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Archive of Art and Design

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