Studies of Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady butterflies, with magnified studies of the wings thumbnail 1
Studies of Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady butterflies, with magnified studies of the wings thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D , Box SK temp 5

Studies of Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady butterflies, with magnified studies of the wings

Drawing
ca. 1887 (drawn)
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.

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. She made numerous carefully observed studies of animals and plants from life. The Peter Rabbit books reflect her interest in natural history. The illustrations are full of accurately rendered examples from the natural world, from foxgloves to the animal characters themselves.

On this sheet Potter made detailed studies of two common species of British butterfly, the Small Tortoiseshell and the Painted Lady. Next to her detailed study of each specimen, Potter included a magnified study of the scales on the wing.
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
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
watercolour and pen and ink on card
Brief Description
Watercolour studies of Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady butterflies, with magnified studies of the wings, by Beatrix Potter, c.1887; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.335.
Physical Description
Study of a Painted Lady butterfly, with magnified wing scales shown on the right (above); study of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, with magnified wing scales shown on the left (below).
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 350mm
  • Sheet width: 265mm
Style
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'Painted Lady Butterfly - Vanessa Cardui. Scales on lower side of wing highly magnified.' (Inscribed in ink by the artist, on paper pasted to the card.)
  • 'Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly - Vanessa Urticae. Scales on upper side of wing highly magnified.' (Inscribed in ink by the artist, on paper pasted to the card.)
Credit line
Linder Bequest [plus object number; written on labels on the same line as the object number]
Object history
Drawn by Beatrix Potter, ca. 1887. 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.
Subjects depicted
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.



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. She made numerous carefully observed studies of animals and plants from life. The Peter Rabbit books reflect her interest in natural history. The illustrations are full of accurately rendered examples from the natural world, from foxgloves to the animal characters themselves.



On this sheet Potter made detailed studies of two common species of British butterfly, the Small Tortoiseshell and the Painted Lady. Next to her detailed study of each specimen, Potter included a magnified study of the scales on the wing.

Bibliographic Reference
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.36; no.335Hobbs, 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.36; no.335
Other Number
LB.335 - Linder Bequest catalogue no.
Collection
Library Number
BP.249

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 30, 2016
Record URL