Not currently on display at the V&A

Sketch of the garden at Gwaynynog

Drawing
Probably March 1909 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.

Before her marriage in 1913, Potter would accompany her family to Scotland, Wales or the Lake District for holidays. From 1903 one of Potter's favourite haunts was Gwaynynog in Denbigh, the old rambling home of her uncle and aunt, Fred and Harriet Burton. The house features in her unfinished story of two bats, Flittermouse and Fluttermouse, who live 'amongst the dusty rafters'. The garden at Gwaynynog inspired another unpublished story, 'Llewellyn's Well', written about 1911, and also the setting of one of Potter's best-loved published tales, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. On her first visit to Gwaynynog in 1903 Potter described the garden in her journal as 'the prettiest kind of garden, where bright old fashioned flowers grow amongst the currant bushes'. She visited Gwaynynog again in March 1909 while working on the illustrations to her tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Adept at sketching outdoors, she produced skilful work quickly and soon amassed enough background sketches 'to finish up the F. Bunnies without further delay.'

Gardens intrigued Potter and inspired the settings of several books, including the tales of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and Tom Kitten. Adopting an animal's perspective, she delighted in sketching objects that an inquisitive rabbit might find appealing: potting sheds, cold frames, water butts, trellises, winding paths, box hedges and vegetable patches. In an ingenious blending of reality and fantasy, Potter incorporated her background sketches into her book illustrations with little modification, positioning her animal characters with subtle humour and a keen sense of beauty.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour and pencil on paper
Brief Description
Watercolour and pencil drawing; sketch of the garden at Gwaynynog, Denbigh, by Beatrix Potter, probably in March 1909 when preparing illustrations for The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies; Linder Collection object no. LC.27.B.3; catalogue no. 4.74.
Physical Description
Watercolour and pencil drawing of a garden scene with a central path leading into the middle distance. On the left of the path is a low brick wall in the foreground and a low box hedge beyond. Tall yellow flowers stand in the flower beds on the left of the path and further to the left of these flowers a brick wall runs the length of the path to trees in the distance. On the right of the path are tall pink phlox and green shrubs, the foreground only partially sketched.
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 179mm
  • Sheet width: 254mm
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Given by the Linder Collection
Object history
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 formerly on long-term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum between 1989 and 2019 form the charitable trust, The Linder Trust.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Literary ReferenceThe garden at Gwaynynog inspired the setting of <i>The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies</i>, published by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1909.
Summary
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.



Before her marriage in 1913, Potter would accompany her family to Scotland, Wales or the Lake District for holidays. From 1903 one of Potter's favourite haunts was Gwaynynog in Denbigh, the old rambling home of her uncle and aunt, Fred and Harriet Burton. The house features in her unfinished story of two bats, Flittermouse and Fluttermouse, who live 'amongst the dusty rafters'. The garden at Gwaynynog inspired another unpublished story, 'Llewellyn's Well', written about 1911, and also the setting of one of Potter's best-loved published tales, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. On her first visit to Gwaynynog in 1903 Potter described the garden in her journal as 'the prettiest kind of garden, where bright old fashioned flowers grow amongst the currant bushes'. She visited Gwaynynog again in March 1909 while working on the illustrations to her tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Adept at sketching outdoors, she produced skilful work quickly and soon amassed enough background sketches 'to finish up the F. Bunnies without further delay.'



Gardens intrigued Potter and inspired the settings of several books, including the tales of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and Tom Kitten. Adopting an animal's perspective, she delighted in sketching objects that an inquisitive rabbit might find appealing: potting sheds, cold frames, water butts, trellises, winding paths, box hedges and vegetable patches. In an ingenious blending of reality and fantasy, Potter incorporated her background sketches into her book illustrations with little modification, positioning her animal characters with subtle humour and a keen sense of beauty.
Bibliographic Reference
'Anne Stevenson Hobbs (compiler), The Linder Collection of the works and drawings of Beatrix Potter : catalogue of works on paper, London, 1999'Brief catalogue entry, no. 4.74.
Other Numbers
  • LOAN:LINDER TRUST.246-1994 - Previous Loan Number
  • 4.74 - Linder Collection catalogue no.
Collection
Library Number
LC 27/B/3

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record createdAugust 19, 2009
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