Magnified studies of a ground beetle thumbnail 1
Magnified studies of a ground beetle thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Magnified studies of a ground beetle

Drawing
ca. 1887 (drawn)
Artist/Maker

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.

From early childhood Beatrix Potter spent time drawing the many pets that she kept in her schoolroom: over the years, her pets included lizards, snails, bats, mice, rabbits and many other animals. During the family’s long summer holidays to rural areas she also took the opportunity to draw the plants and animals she saw in the countryside. Even her earliest childhood drawings show a serious interest in natural history, her sketches annotated with information about the species concerned.

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.

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books, published by Frederick Warne from 1902, 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.

This sheet of studies of a ground beetle (Carabus nemoralis) shows the beetle at different magnifications, and from above and below. A ground beetle later featured in one of the Peter Rabbit books, The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (Frederick Warne, 1910; see the illustration on p.13 of the 2002 edition).


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour, pen and ink and pencil on paper
Brief Description
Drawing; magnified studies of a ground beetle (Carabus nemoralis) by Beatrix Potter, ca. 1887; Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.333
Physical Description
A sheet covered with studies of a ground beetle: a ground beetle shown at twice life size from above and below (top); tarsus of middle leg; front leg (both middle); englarged view of joint of leg (lower left); englarged view of joint more highly magnified (lower right).
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 365mm
  • Sheet width: 270mm
Style
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'twice life size' (Inscribed by the artist next to the upper studies of the ground beetle. )
  • 'A / B / C / D' (Inscribed by the artist, to label the different studies.)
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.



From early childhood Beatrix Potter spent time drawing the many pets that she kept in her schoolroom: over the years, her pets included lizards, snails, bats, mice, rabbits and many other animals. During the family’s long summer holidays to rural areas she also took the opportunity to draw the plants and animals she saw in the countryside. Even her earliest childhood drawings show a serious interest in natural history, her sketches annotated with information about the species concerned.



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.



Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books, published by Frederick Warne from 1902, 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.



This sheet of studies of a ground beetle (Carabus nemoralis) shows the beetle at different magnifications, and from above and below. A ground beetle later featured in one of the Peter Rabbit books, The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (Frederick Warne, 1910; see the illustration on p.13 of the 2002 edition).

Bibliographic References
  • 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.333Hobbs, 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.333
  • Taylor, Judy, Joyce Irene Whalley, Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Elizabeth M Battrick. Beatrix Potter 1866-1943: the Artist and Her World. 1987. London: Frederick Warne & Co.pp.74-76; no.151Taylor, Judy, Joyce Irene Whalley, Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Elizabeth M Battrick. Beatrix Potter 1866-1943: the Artist and Her World. 1987. London: Frederick Warne & Co. pp.74-76; no.151
Other Number
LB.333 - Linder Bequest catalogue no.
Collection
Library Number
BP.257

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record createdDecember 15, 2016
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