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drawing - A cat playing with a fish, and other drawings of cats

A cat playing with a fish, and other drawings of cats

  • Object:

    drawing

  • Date:

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

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pen and ink and penil on an unevenly cut strip of paper

  • Museum number:

    BP.1016(VIII)

  • 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.

Her numerous studies of animals and plants drawn from life would go on to underpin the illustrations that appeared in her books. These studies of cats, one of which plays with a fish, survive on a cut-out fragment of paper.

Physical description

An unevenly cut strip of paper with five drawings of cats; the largest drawing shows a cat playing with a fish.

Date

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

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

pen and ink and penil on an unevenly cut strip of paper

Dimensions

Height: 130 mm sheet, Width: 180 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

Drawings of a cat by Beatrix Potter, late 19th century-early 20th century; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.142.

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. 22; no. 142
p. 22; no. 142
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; Ink

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Cats; Fish; Natural history; Illustration; Animals

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Archive of Art and Design

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