Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
The Porter Gallery, Room 48

Drawing of a swagged urn (black basalt ware) and a glass tumbler

Drawing
December 1879 (made)
Artist/Maker

Essentially self-taught, the young Beatrix Potter copied from nature or from books and drawing manuals, and studied the works of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner in the Royal Academy exhibitions. She was grateful that her education was largely neglected, ‘it would have rubbed off some of the originality.’ However, it was customary for girls of Beatrix’s social class to be proficient at the genteel arts, including painting and drawing, so from November 1878 to May 1883 the Potters arranged drawing lessons for Beatrix and enrolled her at the new National Art Training School in South Kensington to sit her Second Grade Art Student Certificate.

This generic student piece, probably an exercise in perspective for the Art Student's Certificate, is competent enough. Beatrix was even awarded an ‘Excellent’ in her examinations at the National Art Training School. However, her drawings from this period convey a dark and listless formality that seems in retrospect to be at odds with the light humour and exuberance of her imaginative book illustrations. Beatrix remained sceptical of the value of formal art training: ‘Painting is an awkward thing to teach except the details of the medium. If you and your master are determined to look at nature and art in two different directions you are sure to stick.’
read Introducing Beatrix Potter Beatrix Potter remains one of the world's best-selling and best-loved children's authors. She wrote and illustrated 28 books, including her 23 Tales which have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. In her later years, she became a farmer and sheep breeder and helped protect thousand...
object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Chalk and pencil on paper
Brief Description
Chalk drawing of an urn and a glass tumbler by Beatrix Potter, December 1879; Linder Collection object no. LC.1.B.1; catalogue no. 1.5.
Physical Description
Drawing in black and white chalk over pencil on grey paper of a swagged urn (black basalt ware), with lid, and a glass lying on its side on the left of the urn. The urn and glass sit on a folded white cloth. The background and cloth are only partially finished.
Dimensions
  • Height: 349mm
  • Width: 251mm
Size of paper
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'December 1879' (Inscription by Beatrix Potter in pencil on recto)
  • Pinholes in the corners.
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
Summary
Essentially self-taught, the young Beatrix Potter copied from nature or from books and drawing manuals, and studied the works of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner in the Royal Academy exhibitions. She was grateful that her education was largely neglected, ‘it would have rubbed off some of the originality.’ However, it was customary for girls of Beatrix’s social class to be proficient at the genteel arts, including painting and drawing, so from November 1878 to May 1883 the Potters arranged drawing lessons for Beatrix and enrolled her at the new National Art Training School in South Kensington to sit her Second Grade Art Student Certificate.



This generic student piece, probably an exercise in perspective for the Art Student's Certificate, is competent enough. Beatrix was even awarded an ‘Excellent’ in her examinations at the National Art Training School. However, her drawings from this period convey a dark and listless formality that seems in retrospect to be at odds with the light humour and exuberance of her imaginative book illustrations. Beatrix remained sceptical of the value of formal art training: ‘Painting is an awkward thing to teach except the details of the medium. If you and your master are determined to look at nature and art in two different directions you are sure to stick.’
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. 1.5
Other Numbers
  • LOAN:LINDER TRUST.5-1994 - Previous Loan Number
  • 1.5 - Linder Collection catalogue no.
Collection
Library Number
LC 1/B/1

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record createdSeptember 16, 2010
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