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drawing

  • Date:

    1919 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    watercolour and pencil on card

  • Museum number:

    BP.652(3)

  • 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, as well as grapes, frogs and a stork. 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.’

The lapwing illustration on the front of this sheet of card relates to the fable of ‘The Fox and the Stork’ and probably dates from 1919 and the story based on an amalgam of fables, but as noted above Potter’s engagement with Aesop’s fables started considerably earlier. There are some rough studies of crows on the back of the sheet; these probably relate to the fable ‘The Fox and the Crow’.

Date

1919 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

watercolour and pencil on card

Dimensions

Height: 151 mm support, Width: 202 mm support

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably in 1919. 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 studies of a lapwing relating to 'The Fox and the Stork' (recto), and studies of crows (verso), drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably in 1919; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.961.

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.105; no.961
p.105; no.961
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

Watercolour

Subjects depicted

Illustrations; Crows; Hills; Animals; Fables; Birds; Ovals; Lapwing; Invitations; Anthropomorphism

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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