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The fox looks up at the stork standing on top of a tower

  • Object:

    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(4)

  • 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.’

This illustration is based on the fable of ‘The Fox and the Stork’ and was probably made for the planned 1919 book, but as noted above Potter’s engagement with Aesop’s fables started considerably earlier. In this scene the fox, Mr Tod (Potter’s book featuring this character, The Tale of Mr Tod had been published in 1912), looks up at the stork, who is standing on top of a tower.

Physical description

An oval format illustration with a fox in the foreground looking towards a stork, which stands on top of the tower of a red brick mansion.

Date

1919 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

watercolour and pencil on card

Dimensions

Height: 150 mm support, Width: 100 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 illustration to the fable 'The Fox and the Stork', drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably in 1919; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.962.

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.962
p.105; no.962
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

Towers; Foxes; Stork; Anthropomorphism; Illustrations; Birds; Animals; Ovals; Fables

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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