Beatrix Potter was born in London on 28 July 1866. She lived in an elegant townhouse in Kensington with her mother Helen, her father Rupert, and her younger brother Bertram. The families of both her parents had their origins in the industrialised North of England and their money was inherited from the Lancashire cotton industry.
Rupert Potter was a qualified barrister who chose not to practice, but instead to pursue his passion for art and photography. As a young child, Beatrix showed signs of having inherited the artistic talent of her parents and was frequently treated to gallery trips or visits to her father’s notable friends, William Gaskell, husband of Elizabeth Gaskell the novelist, and the painter John Everett Millais.
Typical of many middle-class young girls at the time, Beatrix had little real contact with her parents. Her childhood was rather lonely, with few friends and only a governess for company. Her fascination for painting and drawing occupied most of her spare time outside lessons and she loved to sketch plants and animals, especially the many pets which she and Bertram kept in the nursery at Bolton Gardens. This interest would later become the inspiration for many of her stories.
The Potters took long holidays each year to the countryside in Scotland and the Lake District, where Beatrix indulged in her interest in nature, spending hours exploring and sketching the wildlife. When Beatrix was a teenager, the family spent some summer holidays at Wray Castle, on the west shore of Windermere. This is where she met Canon Rawnsley, one of the founder members of the National Trust, who was to be a great influence and a lifelong friend.
Beatrix loved painting and drawing: she produced an enormous body of work throughout her lifetime, including: over 500 natural history drawings, botanical studies of fungi, mosses and lichens, landscapes, still life and, of course, her famous animal characters. The National Trust has in excess of 1,000 items in its collection, which includes most of the original illustrations for the 23 tales, unpublished drawings, sketchbooks, letters, journals and photographs. See some of the Beatrix Potter collection online or visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the Lake District.
Beatrix Potter died at Castle Cottage in Sawrey in 1943. Her body was cremated, and her ashes were scattered in the countryside near Sawrey.
Film: Miss Potter (2006)
"....Renee Zellweger gets more frumpy and British than Bridget Jones -but in an incredibly charming way- in her latest role as Peter Rabbit artist and author Beatrix Potter in the screenplay directed by Chris Noonan. Even those bugged by Zellweger's squinty-eyed, pursued-lip acting would find it hard to resist her charms as the Bunny Whisperer in this period drama. A beautiful film to watch set in the British countryside of her beloved Lake District at Hilltop cottage, it's a pleasant world to retreat to with Beatrix -but not one where everything goes as planned.... "
Famous Beatrix Potter characters turned in to figurines: Amiable Guinea Pig, And This Pig Had None, Anna Maria, Appley Dapply, Aunt Pettitoes, Benjamin Ate a Lettuce Leaf, Benjamin Bunny, Cecily Parsley, Chippy Hackee, Cousin Ribby, Diggory Diggory Delvet, Duchess, Farmer Potatoes, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, Foxy Whiskered Gentleman, Ginger, Goody Tiptoes, Head Gardener, Hunca Munca, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jeremy Catches a Fish, Johnny Town-Mouse, Lady Mouse, Little Black Rabbit, Little Pig Robinson, Miss Moppet, Mr Alderman Ptolemy, Mr Drake Puddle-Duck, Mr Jackson, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Mr McGregor, Mr Tod, Mrs Flopsy Bunny, Mrs Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle Buys Provisions, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle Takes Tea, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle Washing, Mrs Tittlemouse, Old Mr Bouncer, Old Mr Brown, Old Mr Pricklepin, Peter in Bed, Peter in the Watering Can, Peter on His Book, Peter Rabbit, Peter Rabbit Digging, Peter Rabbit Gardening, Peter Red Pocket Handkerchief, Peter with Daffodils, Peter with Postbag, Pickles, Pig Wig, Pigling Bland, Poorly Peter Rabbit, Rebeccah Puddle-Duck, Ribby, Sally Henny Penny, Samuel Whiskers, Simpkin, Sir Isaac Newton, Squirrel Nutkin, Susan, Sweet Peter Rabbit, Tabitha Twitchit, Tailor of Gloucester, The Old Woman in a Shoe, This Pig Had a Bit of Meat, Thomasina Tittlemouse, Timmy Tiptoes, Timmy Willie, Tom Kitten, Tom Thumb, Tommy Brock, Two Gentlemen Rabbits, Yock-Yock.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Beatrix Potter price guide: sold listings for a value indication.