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drawing

drawing

  • Date:

    ca. 1895-1901 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil on paper

  • Museum number:

    BP.1014(XIV)

  • 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.

The rabbit drawings on the front of this sheet probably depict one of Potter’s pet rabbits. Sketches such as these underpinned the illustrations in Potter’s published books, which, while imagined, are also generally accurate in terms of the anatomy of the animals concerned. Many of Potter’s books feature rabbits, not least The Tale of Peter Rabbit. There is also a sketch of a fungus on the back of this sheet, demonstrating Potter’s concern with mycology (the study of fungi) around this time.

Date

ca. 1895-1901 (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Water mark: 'Britannia'

Dimensions

Height: 165 mm sheet, Width: 105 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

Studies of a rabbit (recto) and sketch of a fungus (verso) by Beatrix Potter, about 1895-1901; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.372.

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. 41; no. 372
p. 41; no. 372
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

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Natural history; Rabbits; Mushrooms; Animals; Fungi

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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