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Beatrix Potter - Author, Artist and Naturalist

Updated on April 24, 2012

Who was Beatrix Potter?

Beatrix Potter was a beloved author of children's books, a talented artist (illustrator), and a proficient and patient naturalist.

Born in 1866 into a wealthy upper middle class Victorian family. Her parents had a busy social life, mixing socially with writers, artists and politicians. She was educated at home by a governess, so while she was close to her younger brother Bertram, once he went to boarding she was very lonely.

So it looks like most of her storytelling and illustrating and making friends with animals was her way of combating this loneliness.


You can also check out Beatrix Potter Books

A Short Beatrix Potter Biography

Buy This at Allposters.com

Beatrix Potter was born in 1866 into a wealthy upper middle class Victorian family. Her parents had a busy social life, mixing socially with writers, artists and politicians. She was educated at home by a governess, so while she was close to her younger brother Bertram, once he went to boarding she was very lonely.

Beatrix's summers were spent visiting Scotland for most of her young life, though one summer her parents took her to the Lake District in Northwest England. The Lake District would become very important to Beatrix. It not only greatly influenced her artwork, but it was also where she met Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, who inspired her interest in conservation and later co-founded the National Trust.

Her artistic talent was encouraged by her father, and she and her brother spent lots of time observing and sketching the numerous pets in their household and a variety of wildlife. Beatrix Potter's pets were often subjects for sketches and paintings, and were later to inspire the much-loved characters in her books.

Beatrix Potter Fungi Illustration
Beatrix Potter Fungi Illustration

Beatrix Potter - The Aspiring Mycologist and Illustrator

In her 20's, long before Beatrix Potter wrote her books she had become a proficient scientific illustrator. Beatrix became a keen naturalist, studying and drawing plants and animals at museums. She spent lots of time patiently observing specimens in the Natural History Museum and in nature, creating many watercolor drawings of lichens and fungi, fossils and archaeological finds.

She was a gifted natural scientist and botanical illustrator and presented a botanical paper on fungi to the Linnean Society. In an age were a woman could not go to University, she became widely respected throughout England as an expert mycologist.

Beatrix Potter stated publishing her tales when she was 27. Her first book wasThe Tale of Peter Rabbit. The tale was written for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter's former governess Annie Carter Moore, in 1893. It was revised and privately printed by Potter in 1901 after several publishers' rejections as a trade Edition. Finally in 1902 Frederick Warne & Co. took an interest in it and published it to great success, selling over 20,000 copies over the next year.

The book was such a success, that multiple reprints have been then and in the years immediately following its debut. As of now The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into 36 languages and with 45 million copies sold it is one of the best-selling books of all time.

Potter became engaged to Norman Warne a few years later, much to the chagrin of her parents, as he was not of the same social status. Tragically, Norman died before they could get married.

From the sale of her books, Beatrix became financially independent from her parents and purchased land in the Lake District. She settled at Hilltop Farm in Near Sawrey permanently at the age of 47 when she married William Heelis, a local lawyer.

Beatrix Potter went on to publish over twenty-three books; the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922.

Beatrix Potter books continue to sell throughout the world, in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold in song, film, ballet and animation.

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Later she became a farmer, sheep-breeder and conservationist. While Potter continued to write and illustrate books until her eyesight began to fail, publishing 23 books in the Peter Rabbit collection, she also spent much of her later life farming and breeding sheep. When they grew older though Beatrix and William eventually moved into the town of Sawrey.

She died on December 22, 1943. Her husband passed a few years later and left Hill Top Farm to the National Trust so that, despite the Lake District's popularity with tourists, it would be preserved just the way Beatrix loved it and had forever documented it in her treasured illustrations.

Beatrix Potter Movie

Miss Potter (2007)

Actors:

Renée Zellweger

Ewan McGregor

A biographical film of the life of Beatrix Potter, staring Renée Zellweger, as Beatrix Potter; and Ewan McGregor as her love interest (fiancé) and publisher, Norman Warne.

Directed: Chris Noonan

Written: Richard Maltby, Jr.

Film score: Nigel Westlake

The film combines stories from Miss Potter's life with animated sequences featuring characters from her stories, such as Peter Rabbit.

The film received generally positive reviews and earned Zellweger her sixth Golden Globe nomination.

Miss Potter [Blu-Ray]

Actors:

Renée Zellweger

Ewan McGregor

France released, Blu-Ray/Region A/B/C

It will not play on regular DVD player. You need Blu-Ray DVD player to view this Blu-Ray DVD

Languages

  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

  • English (Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio),

  • French (Dolby Digital 5.1),

  • French (Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio)

  • French ( Subtitles)
Widescreen (2.35:1)

Special Features

  • Interactive Menu

  • Scene Access

Books on Beatrix Potter

Autobiographical books on Beatrix Potter and her art, conservation and farming.

Beatrix Potter first visited the Lake District as a young person (16 yrs old), when she came to it on holiday with her Parents for their three month summer holiday. Potter fell in love with the Lake District and visited it often before finally moving there permanently when she was financially independent.

A stunningly beautiful mountainous region, the Lake District is located in North West England that is a popular holiday destination. Not only is this area known for its lakes and its mountains (or fells), but also as the source of inspiration for many great authors, including not only Beatrix Potter, but also William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, among others collectively known as Lake Poets.

Located within the shire county of Cumbria, the Lake District is one of England's National Parks. Beatrix Potter's cottage and property of Hill Top Farm is in Near Sawrey near Hawkshead which is between the lakes of Windermere and Coniston Water.

When Beatrix Potter passed away, she left her property in Sawrey to her husband and in his will he left Hill Top Farm to the National Trust so that it could be preserved the way that his wife remembered and loved it.

Read more about the Lake District on Wikipedia.

Find Out Where The Lake District Is

A marker"hill top farm, lake district national park" -
"hill top farm, lake district national park"
get directions

Books on Beatrix Potter's The Lake District

For More Information on Beatrix Potter Check The Following

  • The Beatrix Potter Society

    The Beatrix Potter Society was founded in 1980 by a group of people professionally involved in the curatorship of Beatrix Potter material. From the start it set out to be a focus for those with a serious interest in all aspects of Beatrix Potter’s life and work and so it remains today.

  • Beatrix's Life

    A timeline of Beatrix Potter's life. Detailed information on each section of her life.

  • Beatrix Potter - Her Story (The Fascinating Acquaintance)

    The Birnam Institute, Exhibition Centre and Garden : Permanent Exibition of Beatrix Potter

    The Birnam Institute houses a wonderful exhibition telling the tale of this 'Fascinating Acquaintance', and the nearby Beatrix Potter Garden magically recreates the lovely countryside which so impressed the young Beatrix Potter and features flowers, fungi and characters associated with her relationship with the area. Footpaths lead past the houses of Mr. Tod and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, alongside the stream and pond where Mr. Jeremy Fisher lives and 'Peter Rabbit's burrow'.

  • National Trust - Beatrix Potter Gallery

    The award-winning Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead houses an annually changing exhibition of Beatrix Potter's delicate watercolours in the restored premises of William Heelis's offices in the Main Street. Parts of William Heelis's offices have been recreated with some of the original furniture and furnishings. The Gallery is in the care of the National Trust and is open (seasonally) to the public.

  • National Trust - Hill Top

    This was Beatrix Potter's first house in the Lake District and is now in the care of the National Trust and open (seasonally) to the public.

  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

    An annually changing exhibition bringing Beatrix Potter's characters and settings to life, with videos telling her life story and featuring in particular her connections with the National Trust.

  • The Armitt Collections- Beatrix Potter

    The library contains a large collection of Beatrix Potter's fungi, natural history and archaeological watercolours and drawings and there is an excellent new display on her life in the museum. The display includes a selection of the original natural history watercolours and opened to the public on 15 April 2011. It was part sponsored by a generous grant from The Beatrix Potter Society. Appointments are necessary to view items not on permanent display.

  • Victoria and Albert Museum - Beatrix Potter

    Although she died in 1943, Beatrix Potter is still one of the world's best-selling and best-loved children's authors. She wrote and illustrated a total of 28 books, including the 23 Tales, the 'little books' that have been translated into more than 35 languages and sold over 100 million copies.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wow, how fascinating. I'm a big Beatrix Potter fan. Thanks.

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      When studying England my daughter and I found out you can visit her cottage. That would be too cool!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      Beatrix Potter has been a much loved children's author for so many years she has brought a great deal of joy to thousands of children annd I am sure her legacy will continue for thousands more. Lovely lens. *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to "My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012" in the "Books, Poetry & Writing » Authors" neighborhood. In fact, you are the 1st lens to be featured in this category. Whoot!

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

      I love her delicate watercolor. Beautiful lens.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nicely done, love the illustrations. Blessed, and featured as another great lens about children's authors on my Enid Blyton lens.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image
      Author

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: That sounds awesome, I am envious.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      One of my friends who is a retired librarian decorates her home with Beatrix Potter books and collectibles -- right down to the gardens. It's very beautiful and kids love it, naturally!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I learned so much about Beatrix Potter that I hadn't known from your lens - great job.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      I have read her books, but knew nothing about her. Thank you for this lens. She was a very talented lady. Blessed.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image
      Author

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      @GypsyPirate LM: She was such an exceptional woman, that writing and putting this lens together just got me to appreciate her more. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 5 years ago

      I have always been such a fan of hers. Thank you for sharing a delightful lens with me!!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image
      Author

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      @Steph Tietjen: Glad you got to know more about her through this lens. Enjoy the movie, I think it was done real well.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I really love this excellent lens. I didn't know about her, but read her book as a child...I loved her illustrations, which remind me of her, now that I've seen a photo here. Thank you! I'm going to see Miss Potter via Netflix now.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What an amazing lens. Very informative, and i love the layout and look of it. Like and rolled.