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drawing - Birch tree fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) on a tree trunk
  • Birch tree fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) on a tree trunk
    Potter, Beatrix, born 1866 - died 1943
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Birch tree fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) on a tree trunk

  • Object:

    drawing

  • Date:

    1887-1901 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    watercolour and gouache on paper

  • Museum number:

    BP.243

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Beatrix Potter 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.

From early childhood Beatrix Potter spent time drawing the many pets that she kept in her schoolroom: over the years, her pets included lizards, snails, bats, mice, rabbits and many other animals. During the family’s long summer holidays to rural areas she also took the opportunity to draw the plants and animals she saw in the countryside. Even her earliest childhood drawings show a serious interest in natural history, her sketches annotated with information about the species concerned.

As a young woman Beatrix Potter studied natural history with some seriousness, exploring the collections of the Natural History Museum, including the insect cases and fungi specimens. She had a collector’s cabinet full of specimens, from shells to dead butterflies and moths, and used a magnifying glass and a microscope to examine them more closely. She made numerous carefully observed studies of animals and plants from life.

By her mid-twenties mycology, the study of fungi, had become a strong interest, and Potter made many exquisitely detailed watercolour drawings of fungi over the next few years. Her interest was also scientific, and a (now lost) paper she wrote on the subject was read at a meeting of the prestigious Linnean Society of London in 1897, when Potter was 30.

Physical description

Study of Birch tree fungus growing on a tree trunk; slightly larger than life size.

Date

1887-1901 (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

watercolour and gouache on paper

Dimensions

Height: 435 mm sheet, Width: 370 mm sheet

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter, probably between 1887 and 1901. 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

Drawing; watercolour and gouache study of Birch tree fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) on a tree trunk, by Beatrix Potter, 1887-1901; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.291.

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.33; no.291
p.33; no.291
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; Paper; Gouache

Techniques

Drawn; Watercolour

Subjects depicted

Natural history; Birch; Trees; Fungi; Tree trunk

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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