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drawing

drawing

  • Date:

    late 19th century - early 20th century (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Museum number:

    BP.390

  • 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.

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.

Potter often made sketches of her pets and other animals she came across. The numerous sketches of mice and cats covering both sides of this sheet exemplify Potter’s wish to study the animals concerned from every possible angle. A rough sketch of a garden path on the verso was thought by the Potter scholar Leslie Linder to show Camfield Place, the home of Potter’s paternal grandparents. It is difficult to identify the garden concerned from a rough sketch as Potter drew many gardens, but Gwaynynog, the home of Potter’s aunt and uncle, appears to be another possibility: Potter described the garden at Gwaynynog as the ‘prettiest kind’ and it formed the setting for The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (Frederick Warne, 1909).

Date

late 19th century - early 20th century (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Dimensions

Height: 255 mm sheet, Width: 160 mm sheet

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

Sketches of mice and a broom (recto) and sketches of cats, with a sketch of a garden (verso) by Beatrix Potter; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.316.

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. 35; no. 316
p. 35; no. 316
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

Pencil; Paper; Watercolour

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Mouse; Gardens; Mice; Animals; Illustration; Landscapes; Natural history; Cats

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Archive of Art and Design

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