Artist biography

English painter, draughtsman and writer. A lonely child, she sought solace in botany, zoology, mycology and archaeology, learning to observe and to record. In the 1880s and 1890s she systematically studied fungi, mosses, lichens, fossils and Roman antiquities; her watercolours of these, such as the collection in the National Art Library (London, V&A), combine broad washes with acutely observed detail in elegant compositions. Pets such as rabbits, mice and hedgehogs provided company and inspired stories to entertain her ex-governess's children. She published The Tale of Peter Rabbit privately in December 1901 (R London, 1902) with her own illustrations. Publication gave her independence from the family wealth. She purchased Hill Top Farm, Near Sawrey (NT), and set her best-loved books in the vicinity (original drawings: Hawkshead, Beatrix Potter Gal.). From 1913 Beatrix Potter was occupied as a sheep farmer.

Bibliography
L. Linder: The Art of Beatrix Potter (London, 1955, rev. 1972)
The Art of Beatrix Potter (exh. cat., ed. V. A. J. Slowe; Kendal, Abbot Hall A.G., 1983)
A. Stevenson Hobbs and J. I. Whalley: Beatrix Potter: The V&A Collection (London, 1985)
Beatrix Potter, 1866–1943: The Artist and her World (exh. cat., ed. E. M. Battrick and others; London, Tate, 1987)

V. A. J. SLOWE

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