Today as all Fridays (although we’ll take a break to bring you some Christmas specials during the festive period) I bring you a guest author. This time is a classic that I think most of us will be familiar with (and especially with her characters): Beatrix Potter.
There is plenty of information about her on the internet. I leave you a short biography and links to more information about her and her works.
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in London (South Kensington). Both her grandparents had been industrialists in the cotton business (in the Manchester area) and her parents were quite wealthy and followers of the Unitarian faith. Her father was a barrister and amateur photographer and her mother enjoyed embroidery and drawing. They were both interested in the arts and encouraged Beatrix and her younger brother, Walter Bertram, in the pursuit of their artistic interests. She was educated at home by private governesses, and she and her brother spent time studying, drawing and taking art lessons and observing and playing with their pet animals. The best know of her governesses, Annie Moore, taught her German and was only 3 years older than her, becoming also her companion. They corresponded throughout the years and Beatrix sent her children (particularly Noel, who was often ill as a child) illustrated letters and tales to keep them entertained. Many of these letters would later become some of her best known children’s books. Her family used to go on holidays to the countryside, often visiting Scotland (Perthshire) and later the Lake District. She developed a love for the area and for the countryside, well reflected in her best known works.
She studied art privately and took exams, although preferred to develop her own style and favoured watercolours. She did illustrations of animals, insects, fossils and fungi, and one of her articles on fungi reproduction was presented to the Royal Society, but due to being an amateur (and also a woman) her findings were ignored. She had some success illustrating cards, and after encouragement she published privately the illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901) that was published by Frederick Warne & Co a year later as a small three-colour illustrated book. She became engaged (unofficially, as her parents disapproved) to Norman Warne, her editor, in 1905, but he died suddenly of leukemia.
Despite this loss and from the proceeds of her books and a legacy from an aunt she bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a small village in the Lake District, near Ambleside, in the same year. Over the following decades she bought a number of farms nearby, as she had become interested in conservationism and become friendly with one of the founders of the National Trust, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.
She continued to write and illustrate children stories for Warne & Co and as early as 1903 she made and patented a Peter Rabbit doll and followed with many other related items (you will find all kind of merchandise related to her stories and characters, from pottery, bedding, dolls…).
In 1913, aged 47, she married William Heelis, a local solicitor. She became a celebrated breeder of Herdwick sheep and died on 22nd December 1943 at her home near Sawrey, aged 77, leaving most of her property to the National Trust (and that included her flock of Herdwick sheep). To her credit is the preservation of much of the land that is now the Lake District National Park.
There have been a number of adaptations of her books, to songs, films, ballets, and there are also movies about her own life, like Miss Potter (2006, Dir: Chris Noonan, with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor).
Gorgeous website (it includes information on visits to the World of Beatrix Potter in the Lake District):
The Beatrix Potter society:
The page of the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the National Trust:
Very appropriately ‘Visit Cumbria’ dedicates a page to Beatrix Potter:
She also has a page at the Victoria and AlbertMuseum website:
Their biography is also very good and has excellent photographs:
Beatrix Potter’s Garden in Perthshire:
Her page at the Tate:
Beatrix Potter in You Tube:
It seems the Japanese also love Potter:
Her house is now Grade II listed building:
Her page in IMDB (movies and cartoons based on her stories and some about her):
This is the author’s page in Amazon. I suspect that due to the illustrations the books are not free on this site although some are very cheap.
Free books by Beatrix Potter in Project Guttenberg (there are 25 including two in audio format):
Here in e-pubbud:
Many thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and of course CLICK!
And as preparation and winding down for Christmas, from next week I’ll be reviewing and reposting some of the most visited posts.
- Beatrix Potter (alloverengland.wordpress.com)
- Beatrix Potter (gardenrooms.typepad.com)
- Beatrix Potter: I love! (ednastradioto.com)
- Classics: Beatrix Potter (aliciafinnnoack.com)
- Beatrix Potter, Beloved Children’s Author (pertainingto.com)
- Beatrix Potter plaque marks her childhood home (kimbofo.typepad.com)