Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1908 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Copyright Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:LINDER TRUST.236-1994

  • 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.

The Roly-Poly Pudding (1908) was the second of Potter's books to be issued in a large format (the first large-format book, The Pie and the Patty-Pan, was published in 1905). The larger format allowed for more illustrations, in particular sepia line drawings as well as colour illustrations. In her line drawings, such as this sketch of Tabitha Twichit weeping into her handkerchief, Potter suggests movement and expression in just a few lines. Blank spaces are never redundant - like Randolph Caldecott, an artist she claimed to copy, she mastered the 'art of leaving out', regarding space and line as equal components in her illustrations.

Potter drew inspiration for her story of the two rats, Samuel Whiskers and Anna Maria, from her Lake District farmhouse, Hill Top. A year after purchasing the house, she wrote to her friend, Millie Warne, 'The rats have come back in great force; two big ones were trapped in the shed here, besides turning out a nest of eight baby rats in the cucumber frame opposite the door' (4 October 1906). Whilst renovating the house Potter decided to keep the fireplace, 'wanted for the next book'. Hill Top became the setting for the story and can still be identified in her book illustrations today.

Potter presented her finished manuscript of The Roly-Poly Pudding to Winifred Warne (the daughter of her publisher, Fruing Warne) for Christmas in 1906. The book was finally published in 1908 and dedicated to Potter's pet white rat, Sammy. In 1926 the book was re-issued in the small format to complement the other books in the series. The finished version of this illustration appears on page 17 of Warne's 2002 edition, alongside the text:

"The chimney wants sweeping -
Oh, dear me, Cousin Ribby - now
Moppet and Mittens are gone!
They have both got out of the cupboard!"

Physical description

Pencil and pen and ink drawing on paper of a cat, Mrs. Tabitha Twichit, sitting in a chair weeping into a handkerchief. Behind her a cat peeps out of a barrel. A rug lies on the floor in front of her and there is an open cupboard door in the wall panelling behind her.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1908 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Pencil mark on verso

Drawing pin hole in top right corner

'13' (in circle)
Pencil mark on recto (top right)


Height: 127 mm Whole object, Width: 203 mm Whole object

Object history note

Drawn by Beatrix Potter in 1908 for The Roly-Poly Pudding (later renamed The Tale of Samuel Whiskers). Given by Leslie Linder (1904-1973) to the National Book League (now the Book Trust) in 1970 as part of a representative selection of Beatrix Potter’s work. This selection, comprising 279 drawings and 38 early editions and now known as the Linder Collection, was acquired on long-term loan by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1989 and remains the property of a charitable trust, The Linder Trust.

Descriptive line

Drawing of Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit, pen and ink, by Beatrix Potter for 'The Roly-Poly Pudding' (later renamed 'The Tale of Samuel Whiskers'), 1908, Linder Collection object no. LC.26.B.2; catalogue no. 4.22.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Brief catalogue entry, 4.22.
Hobbs, Anne Stevenson (compiler). The Linder Collection of the works and drawings of Beatrix Potter: catalogue of works on paper. London: The Trustees of the Linder Collection, 1996 (1999 reprint).
Beatrix Potter. The roly-poly pudding. London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1908.


Pen and ink; Paper; Pencil



Subjects depicted

Doors; Cats; Barrels (containers); Rugs; Panelling; Walls; Chairs; Handkerchiefs


Drawings; Books

Production Type



National Art Library

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.