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drawing - Studies of a field vole

Studies of a field vole

  • Object:

    drawing

  • Date:

    ca. 1905-1918 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:

    BP.1438

  • 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.

These sketches appear to show a field vole. It is possible they relate to the illustrations for Potter’s 1918 book, The Tale of Johnny Town-mouse, which includes the ‘country mouse’ character of Timmy Willie, who is really a field vole.

Physical description

Seven pencil and watercolour studies of a field vole seen in various positions, all drawn on one side of a sheet of paper.

Date

ca. 1905-1918 (drawn)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

pencil and watercolour on paper

Dimensions

Height: 250 mm sheet, Width: 175 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 field vole by Beatrix Potter, ca., 1905-1918; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.328.

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. 328; described as 'Studies of the head and underparts of a harvest mouse(?)'
p. 35; no. 328; described as 'Studies of the head and underparts of a harvest mouse(?)'
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

Animals; Natural history; Vole; Mice; Mouse

Categories

Drawings

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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