(Featured image – Beatrix’s own)
As the 28th July 2016 marks the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter, I felt that this week’s author spotlight spot could not go to anyone else.
Who is she?
Born on 28 July 1866 and died 22 December 1943, Beatrix was a children’s fantasy author and illustrator, known for her stories about talking animals who wear clothes.
(Thanks to Wikipedia for the full list)
The 24 Tales:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903)
The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904)
The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904)
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905)
The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906)
The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
The Story of Miss Moppet (1906)
The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907)
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding (1908)
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909)
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)
The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911)
The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912)
The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913)
Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917)
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918)
Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes (1922)
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)
The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots (2016*) – this was a rediscovered manuscript found at the Victoria and Albert museum
Peter Rabbit’s Painting Book (1911)
When The Air Blows (1912)
Tom Kitten’s Painting Book (1917)
Jemima Puddle-Duck’s Painting Book (1925)
Peter Rabbit’s Almanac for 1929 (1928)
The Fairy Caravan (1929)
Sister Anne (illustrated by Katharine Sturges) (1932)
Wag-by-Wall (decorations by J. J. Lankes) (1944)
The Tale of the Faithful Dove (illustrated by Marie Angel) (1955, 1970)
The Sly Old Cat (written 1906; first published 1971)
The Tale of Tuppenny (illustrated by Marie Angel) (1973)
How did you come across them?
I can’t actually remember when I first came across her stories, it was probably some sort osmosis as Beatrix Potter-themed toys and tableware are common gifts for new babies. I probably had s cup or plate with a quote on it before I could even read or know what it was.
What is your favourite work by them and why?
In all honesty I have only read a couple of these stories (I plan to eventually read them all though). I would say I like the Tale of Peter Rabbit because of the trouble he gets into with Mr MacGregor, and his little blue coat is just lovely!
Personally I think Mrs Tiggy-Winkle seems like the sweetest character and would definitely have my vote. However, I think I will have to say Mittens purely because when I was 10, my school put on a medley play of Beatrix Potter stories, and I played the role of Mittens (complete with vintage Laura Ashley dress, pinny, ears and tail)!
Beatrix Potter was also a well-known naturalist whose illustrations of fungi have been printed in identification texts. But what I love her most for is for all her efforts in sheep farming and conservation in the Lake District. Upon her death she bequeathed nearly all her property (including around 4000 acres of land!) to the National Trust. The National Trust HQ in Swindon is called named Heelis after her (she married a lawyer called William Heelis).
If you cannot visit her property in the Lake District this summer, you could read some of her books or something about her, or watch the film Miss Potter.
Sources and further reading:
Beatrix’s Publisher’s Website (This site has some good further reading lists!)