Helen Beatrix Potter
The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle c.1902

Artwork details

The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle
Date c.1902
Medium Ink, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 111 x 92 mm
Acquisition Presented by Capt. K.W.G. Duke RN 1946
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

A01100 [from] TWENTY TWO ILLUSTRATIONS FOR ‘THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER’ c. 1902 [A01089-A01110; complete]

Pen and watercolour, each 4 3/8×3 5/8 (11×9); Nos.16 and 17 are horizontal.
Presented by the artist's executor, Captain K.W.G. Duke, R.N., 1946.
Lit: Margaret Lane, The Tale of Beatrix Potter, 1946, pp.63–4.

The illustrations for The Tailor of Gloucester, her second and favourite book, were drawn in Gloucester and the country round about, the story being based on an actual Gloucestershire story that she heard while staying with a cousin near Stroud. The fabrics in the watercolours are said to have been taken from fabrics in the V. & A.

The book was first privately printed, in a limited edition of 400 copies, in 1902; Frederick Warne & Co. published their first edition in 1903. D. Billington, Managing Director of Frederick Warne & Co., stated: ‘Regarding the 22 original illustrations held in your Gallery, these are the same drawings from which we originally made the blocks in our 1903 first edition. Only two of these were used in the 1902 edition and these appear on pages 40 and 43 of the present (1958) edition’ (letter of 28 January 1959). In addition the ninth illustration was used only in the 1902 edition. There are seven further plates in the Warne edition, the drawings for which are not at the Tate Gallery.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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