61 Facts About Beatrix Potter


Helen Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist.


Beatrix Potter is best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was her first published work in 1902.


Beatrix Potter's books, including 23 Tales, have sold more than 250 million copies.


Beatrix Potter had numerous pets and spent holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developing a love of landscape, flora and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted.


Beatrix Potter wrote over sixty books, with the best known being her twenty-three children's tales.


Beatrix Potter was a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation.


Beatrix Potter continued to write and illustrate, and to design spin-off merchandise based on her children's books for British publisher Warne until the duties of land management and her diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue.


Beatrix Potter died of pneumonia and heart disease on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at the age of 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust.


Beatrix Potter is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park.


Beatrix Potter's books continue to sell throughout the world in many languages with her stories being retold in songs, films, ballet, and animations, and her life is depicted in two films and a television series.


Beatrix Potter married Helen Leech on 8 August 1863 at Hyde Unitarian Chapel, Gee Cross.


Potter's parents lived comfortably at 2 Bolton Gardens, West Brompton, London, where Helen Beatrix was born on 28 July 1866 and her brother Walter Bertram on 14 March 1872.


Beatrix Potter was educated by three governesses, the last of whom was Annie Moore, just three years older than Potter, who tutored Potter in German as well as acting as lady's companion.


Beatrix Potter's parents were artistic, interested in nature, and enjoyed the countryside.


Beatrix Potter was devoted to the care of her small animals, often taking them with her on long holidays.


In most of the first fifteen years of her life, Beatrix Potter spent summer holidays at Dalguise, an estate on the River Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.


At about the age of 14, Beatrix Potter began to keep a diary, written in a simple substitution cipher of her own devising.


Beatrix Potter's Journal was important to the development of her creativity, serving as both sketchbook and literary experiment.


Beatrix Potter was interested in every branch of natural science except astronomy.


Beatrix Potter collected fossils, studied archaeological artefacts from London excavations, and was interested in entomology.


Beatrix Potter helped improve the accuracy of her illustrations, taught her taxonomy, and supplied her with live specimens to paint during the winter.


Curious as to how fungi reproduced, Beatrix Potter began microscopic drawings of fungus spores and in 1895 developed a theory of their germination.


Beatrix Potter did not believe in the theory of symbiosis proposed by Simon Schwendener, the German mycologist, as previously thought; instead, she proposed a more independent process of reproduction.


Beatrix Potter subsequently withdrew it, realising that some of her samples were contaminated, but continued her microscopic studies for several more years.


Beatrix Potter's paper has only recently been rediscovered, along with the rich, artistic illustrations and drawings that accompanied it.


Beatrix Potter later gave her other mycological and scientific drawings to the Armitt Museum and Library in Ambleside, where mycologists still refer to them to identify fungi.


Beatrix Potter was a student of the classic fairy tales of Western Europe.


Beatrix Potter studied book illustration from a young age and developed her own tastes, but the work of the picture book triumvirate Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott, the last an illustrator whose work was later collected by her father, was a great influence.


Beatrix Potter's Journal reveals her growing sophistication as a critic as well as the influence of her father's friend, the artist Sir John Everett Millais, who recognised Potter's talent of observation.


In 1893, the same printer bought several more drawings for Weatherly's Our Dear Relations, another book of rhymes, and the following year Beatrix Potter sold a series of frog illustrations and verses for Changing Pictures, a popular annual offered by the art publisher Ernest Nister.


Beatrix Potter was pleased by this success and determined to publish her own illustrated stories.


Whenever Beatrix Potter went on holiday to the Lake District or Scotland, she sent letters to young friends, illustrating them with quick sketches.


In September 1893, Beatrix Potter was on holiday at Eastwood in Dunkeld, Perthshire.


Beatrix Potter had run out of things to say to Noel, and so she told him a story about "four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter".


Rawnsley had great faith in Beatrix Potter's tale, recast it in didactic verse, and made the rounds of the London publishing houses.


Beatrix Potter continued creating her little books until after the First World War when her energies were increasingly directed toward her farming, sheep-breeding and land conservation.


The immense popularity of Beatrix Potter's books was based on the lively quality of her illustrations, the non-didactic nature of her stories, the depiction of the rural countryside, and the imaginative qualities she lent to her animal characters.


Beatrix Potter's parents objected to the match because Warne was "in trade" and thus not socially suitable.


That same year, Beatrix Potter used some of her income and a small inheritance from an aunt to buy Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey in the English Lake District near Windermere.


Beatrix Potter visited Hill Top at every opportunity, and her books written during this period reflect her increasing participation in village life and her delight in country living.


At last her own woman, Beatrix Potter settled into the partnerships that shaped the rest of her life: her country solicitor husband and his large family, her farms, the Sawrey community and the predictable rounds of country life.


Rupert Beatrix Potter died in 1914 and, with the outbreak of World War I, Beatrix Potter, now a wealthy woman, persuaded her mother to move to the Lake District and found a property for her to rent in Sawrey.


Beatrix Potter established a Nursing Trust for local villages and served on various committees and councils responsible for footpaths and other rural issues.


Beatrix Potter was admired by her shepherds and farm managers for her willingness to experiment with the latest biological remedies for the common diseases of sheep, and for her employment of the best shepherds, sheep breeders, and farm managers.


In one of her diary entries whilst travelling through Wales, Beatrix Potter complained about the Welsh language.


Beatrix Potter had been a disciple of the land conservation and preservation ideals of her long-time friend and mentor, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, the first secretary and founding member of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty.


Beatrix Potter restored and preserved the farms that she bought or managed, making sure that each farm house had in it a piece of antique Lakeland furniture.


Beatrix Potter was interested in preserving not only the Herdwick sheep but the way of life of fell farming.


Beatrix Potter was the de facto estate manager for the Trust for seven years until the National Trust could afford to repurchase most of the property from her.


Beatrix Potter was notable in observing the problems of afforestation, preserving the intact grazing lands, and husbanding the quarries and timber on these farms.


Beatrix Potter continued to write stories and to draw, although mostly for her own pleasure.


Beatrix Potter was a generous patron of the Girl Guides, whose troupes she allowed to make their summer encampments on her land, and whose company she enjoyed as an older woman.


Beatrix Potter died of complications from pneumonia and heart disease on 22 December 1943 at Castle Cottage, and her remains were cremated at Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool.


Beatrix Potter left nearly all her property to the National Trust, including over 4,000 acres of land, sixteen farms, cottages and herds of cattle and Herdwick sheep.


Beatrix Potter left almost all the original illustrations for her books to the National Trust.


Beatrix Potter gave her folios of mycological drawings to the Armitt Library and Museum in Ambleside before her death.


In 1903, Beatrix Potter created the first Peter Rabbit soft toy and registered him at the Patent Office in London, making Peter the oldest licensed fictional character.


Merchandise of Peter and other Beatrix Potter characters have been sold at Harrods department store in London since at least 1910 when the range first appeared in their catalogues.


Also in 2016, Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter characters featured on a series of UK postage stamps issued by the Royal Mail.


In 2022, an exhibition Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.


In 1971, a ballet film was released, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, directed by Reginald Mills, set to music by John Lanchbery with choreography by Frederick Ashton, and performed in character costume by members of the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House orchestra.