Not currently on display at the V&A

Sketch for the Mayor's coat

Drawing
1902 (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.

The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix's favourite of her little books and the second to be privately printed prior to publication by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1903. Many of Beatrix Potter’s stories begin ‘Once upon a time…’. The Tailor of Gloucester is unusual in that the story takes place at a specific period – ‘the time of swords and periwigs’ – between about 1735 and 1785. Beatrix went to extraordinary lengths to create an authentic setting. Passing a tailor’s shop in Chelsea one day, she deliberately tore a button off her coat and took it in to be mended so she could observe at first hand the tailor’s posture, tools and workbench.

She sought inspiration for the Mayor of Gloucester’s coat and embroidered waistcoat in 18th-century clothes owned by her local museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum (then known as the South Kensington Museum). In March 1903 she wrote to her publisher, Norman Warne: ‘I had been looking at them for a long time in an inconvenient dark corner of the Goldsmith’s Court, but had no idea they could be taken out of the case. The clerk says I could have any article put on a table in one of the offices, which will be most convenient.’ Her sketches of the Museum's costumes are so accurate that it is possible to identify the original garments, including the mayor’s waistcoat, ‘worked with poppies and corn-flowers’.
read Beatrix Potter's inspirations The appeal of Beatrix Potter's book illustrations lies in the combination of romance and fantasy with a strong sense of place captured in realistic backdrops. The places she visited with her family provided endless inspiration for her imagery. The Potter family regularly travelled during t...
Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Pencil on paper
Brief description
Sketch of an eighteenth-century coat in the Victoria and Albert Museum; sketched by Beatrix Potter in 1902 while preparing the illustrations of the Mayor's coat for The Tailor of Gloucester (1902); Linder Collection object no. LC.9.A.3; catalogue no. 4.26.
Physical description
Pencil sketch of a coat laid flat showing details of buttons and embroidery and lace ruffle.
Dimensions
  • Height: 293mm
  • Width: 228mm
Production typeUnique
Marks and inscriptions
'Flat 3 pleats' (Pencil annotation by Beatrix Potter on recto.)
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.
Subject depicted
Literary referenceThe Tailor of Gloucester
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.



The Tailor of Gloucester was Beatrix's favourite of her little books and the second to be privately printed prior to publication by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1903. Many of Beatrix Potter’s stories begin ‘Once upon a time…’. The Tailor of Gloucester is unusual in that the story takes place at a specific period – ‘the time of swords and periwigs’ – between about 1735 and 1785. Beatrix went to extraordinary lengths to create an authentic setting. Passing a tailor’s shop in Chelsea one day, she deliberately tore a button off her coat and took it in to be mended so she could observe at first hand the tailor’s posture, tools and workbench.



She sought inspiration for the Mayor of Gloucester’s coat and embroidered waistcoat in 18th-century clothes owned by her local museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum (then known as the South Kensington Museum). In March 1903 she wrote to her publisher, Norman Warne: ‘I had been looking at them for a long time in an inconvenient dark corner of the Goldsmith’s Court, but had no idea they could be taken out of the case. The clerk says I could have any article put on a table in one of the offices, which will be most convenient.’ Her sketches of the Museum's costumes are so accurate that it is possible to identify the original garments, including the mayor’s waistcoat, ‘worked with poppies and corn-flowers’.
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, 4.26
Other numbers
  • LOAN:LINDER TRUST.59-1994 - Previous loan number
  • 4.26 - Linder Collection catalogue no.
Collection
Library number
LC 9/A/3

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdNovember 21, 2012
Record URL
Download as: JSON