Idol Eyes: Beatrix Potter

I admire and get inspired by so many different creative people. So I am starting a new feature on the Sunray Sister blog to celebrate all those people, one post at a time. There will be illustrators, musicians, painters, writers, explorers, designers, makers… and they will be from many different backgrounds and time periods.

For this first post of the series, I am celebrating the pioneering artist, storyteller, farmer and all round ambitious and passionate woman Beatrix Potter.

 

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My watercolour portrait of Beatrix Potter

Fact file:

  • Lived from 28th of July 1866 to 22 December 1943
  • Full name: Helen Beatrix Potter
  • Grew up in London with her parents and younger brother Bertram
  • Always encouraged to draw
  • Fascinated by the natural world
  • Her pet rabbits were her earliest models for characters

 

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End paper cleverly listing Beatrix’s huge catalogue of work

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Pages from ‘The Story of Miss Moppet’

Reasons to love her:

  • In her early career she produced botanical illustrations for The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, which were later scientifically recognised.
  • The ‘Tale of Peter Rabbit’ was her first book, and was rejected multiple times, so Beatrix self-published 250 black and white copies.
  • Frederick Warne & Co. subsequently published her books after seeing her solo success.
  • Beatrix fell in love with her editor and got engaged to him, despite her parents’ disapproval.
  • She designed, licensed and patented the first Peter Rabbit doll, followed by many other products related to her stories.
  • Her books were a massive success and from that money she was able to buy Hill Top Farm in The Lake District.
  • Beatrix also purchased fifteen farms in The Lake District and was passionate about working the land.
  • She was the first female president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association.
  • When she died in 1943, Beatrix left over four thousand acres of land to the National Trust.

 

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Beautiful end papers showing many of Beatrix’s characters
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Title page from ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ – a location close to where I grew up!
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Pages from ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’
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Detail from ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’
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Pages from ‘The Tale of Benjamin Bunny’
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Detail from ‘The Tale of Benjamin Bunny’, featuring Peter Rabbit!
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Detail from ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten’

 

Who are your idols? Who’s work do you admire? How do you celebrate them? How much do you know about them? I’d love to find out, why not leave a comment below or on social media.

 

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Dedication in ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten’

 

Coming next on the blog will be another regular news post on Sunday – I have lots of things going on, so lots to talk about! There will also be an Etsy shop update this weekend!!!

Until then you can catch up on my news from last week, or follow my daily adventures and work-in-progress on InstagramHave a lovely weekend!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x



 

all photos are my own 

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2 Replies to “Idol Eyes: Beatrix Potter”

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