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'What kind of lookin' man is dis Mr. Billy Malone?'

  • Object:

    drawing

  • Date:

    September 1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil and pen and ink on paper and card

  • Museum number:

    BP.459

  • 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.

Before publishing her own stories from 1901, Beatrix Potter illustrated fairy tales and classic texts, largely to amuse herself and to develop her technique. She enjoyed the African-American Uncle Remus folktales, with their trickster protagonist, ‘Brer Rabbit’, and American setting. Joel Chandler Harris’s compilation of the stories, now controversial, had been published in 1880 as Uncle Remus: his Songs and his Sayings.

Each of Potter’s illustrations for Uncle Remus includes a single scene surrounded by a border and some text, as seen here. The animal characters, language and humour seen in Uncle Remus all appealed to Beatrix Potter as she was developing her own written and illustrative work. In the tale illustrated in this drawing, ‘In Some Lady’s Garden’, Brer Rabbit pretends to be a ‘Mr. Billy Malone’.

Physical description

A mounted illustration, laid down on card, of a well-dressed rabbit entering a garden holding an empty shopping bag and an umbrella, while a little girl looks on through an open gate. There is a drawing of the rabbit running away as well as some text on the mount.

Date

September 1895 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

pencil and pen and ink on paper and card

Marks and inscriptions

'HBP / Sept. '95.'
Inscribed in ink by the artist, lower right on paper.

'"What kind of lookin' man is dis Mr. Billy Malone?" / "Split lip, pop eye, big y'ear an' bob tail, daddy."'
Written in ink by the artist in the border, lower left on mount.

'Brer Rabbit personates 'Mr Billy Malone' & persuades / the little girl to let him into her daddy's garden. / Original, drawn by Beatrix Potter.'
Inscribed in ink on the verso, possibly by Captain Duke, according to the Linder Bequest catalogue (see literature reference).

'& P.T.O. 93'
Written in pencil, lower right. There are also pencil marks relating to intended scaling, or cutting down, of the image.

Dimensions

Height: 280 mm support, Width: 218 mm support, Height: 149 mm inset illustration, Width: 119 mm inset illustration

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter in September 1895. 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

Pencil and pen and ink illustration to the Uncle Remus stories compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, drawn by Beatrix Potter, September 1895; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.980.

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.109; no.980
p.109; no.980
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

Ink; Pencil; Paper; Card

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Girls; Rabbits; Gates; Illustrations; Anthropomorphism; Umbrellas; Gardens; Bags; Costumes

Categories

Drawings; Illustration

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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