Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Beatrix Potter

Most of us will be familiar with the Beatrix Potter books, in particular little Peter Rabbit.  I am a great fan of Beatrix Potter's work and very interested in her life.  Over the years I have visited the beautiful Lake District in Cumbria where she lived and worked for much of her life and enjoyed it very much.  Especially the visits to her house Hill Top.  One of my colleagues is shortly going to start a new job working at Hill Top - I am very excited for her! - and that got me thinking about my love of Miss Potter.

Sadly I cannot do a post with beautiful pictures of her home and the wonderful landscape as I haven't visited the area for a few years now and all my pictures are pre digital and photos of photos aren't really that good are they.

When you visit the Lakes there are so many shops selling all sorts of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit paraphernalia, every taste and budget is catered for.  I tend to avoid most of those sorts of things, but it is well established that I love books as much as I love crochet so I gravitate towards buying books.  There is little to stop my indulging in this love other than space and finance restrictions of course!

My collection started with the 100th Anniversary Editions of Miss Potter's little books.  Peter Rabbit was the first in 2002, followed in quick succession by Squirrel Nutkin and I continue to collect them each year as they are published.  There are just four more of these books to collect.  The last one was published in 2013 and the next one isn't due until 2017.  The last will not be published until 2030 and then I will have the full set - that will mean that I will have been collecting them for 28 years at that point.  Quite a feat!  I hope that I get there.



I was lucky enough to get this "Scrapbook" a few years ago.  It is beautiful and really is printed as though it is a scrapbook with envelopes containing copies of letters and copies of other items of ephemera associated with Miss Potter's life.



One of the items that the scrapbook contains is a copy of the first letter that Miss Potter wrote to a young man called Noel and contains a version of the famous story we came to know as Peter Rabbit.  Although it is of course only a copy it is wonderful to be able to read this and look at the wonderful pictures.


At the back of the book is a secret door.  It contains a copy of the first privately printed edition of Peter Rabbit.  I have only opened it very gingerly a few times and not actually "read" it as I don't want to cause any damage.




I have read my little gold books though!

I also have a collection of other biographical books.  I haven't actually read this first one - it is part of the to be read pile!


However I have read all of the others that I have.  Including this short book which contains a very short diary from one of Miss Potters holidays.



Many of the books written about Beatrix Potter are written by Judy Taylor, including this collection of some of her letters.  This was one of the first books that I bought and I have read it several times.  It is very interesting to meet someone through their correspondence, although it does feel rather nosey too!

Miss Potter did of course go on to marry later in her life.  Her husband was William Heelis, a local solicitor.  This book is again short, but very interesting and approaches her life from the point of view of a wife, rather than that of the author that we all know.  As Mrs Heelis, she was a famous sheep breeder and landowner and was very interested in the work of the National Trust, leaving much of her money, land and possessions to the Trust on her death.



The last two books are another by Judy Taylor, more of a biography and then of course the guide book to Hill Top, again written by Judy Taylor.  Both of these are very interesting reads.  They also contain beautiful illustrations as Miss Potter was not just someone who drew pictures for her little books.  She was also interested in all sorts of fungi for example and drew beautiful and incredibly detailed pictures of them as she studied them.


That is just a short tour of a few things about Beatrix Potter and my interest in her and her work.  There is a lot more to tell and perhaps if I get to go and visit my colleague sometime, I will be able to get more information and pictures to share with you!

Amy

54 comments:

  1. Lovely post Amy. I am in the Lake District now so very apt!!!

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  2. Hi Amy, I loved this post. you have an amazing collection of Beatrix Potter books that make me want to read more about this clever and interesting lady.
    The second to last one you showed looks particularly appealing. I have a book about Hilltop and the Lakeland countryside around it and a few of the tales from my childhood. Mrs Tiggywinkle was a favourite.
    I have the movie "Miss Potter" that I'm saving for a rainy day....hope it's good.
    I presume you have read Susan Branch's posts about her love of all things Potter.
    this post is particularly delightful http://www.susanbranch.com/beatrix-potter-me/
    Thank you for sharing.
    Jacquie x

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    1. I love the movie - Miss Potter - watch and enjoy.

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  3. I also am a great fan of Beatrix Potter and have quite a few books about her (5 in total), one which is her A Life in Nature (same as yours). We've also visited Hill Top and I loved the wonky floors, but it was a miserable misty day and I didn't get to explore the garden as I would have liked. Thanks for such a lovely post. Take care.

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  4. This is a great post, Amy. I am also a huge fan of BP. I love her drawings and have copies of several of the stories, all of them now about 40 years old! I bet your colleague will love working at Hill Top- what a fantastic job to have. xx

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  5. We have visited there and its just lovely. In her bedroom is the doll house that Hunca Munca and Tom thumb, get into, I have read that story so many times as it was my youngest's favorite. On you tube you can watch the stories. xx

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  6. What a lovely collection. Her books are wonderful, the illustrations just gorgeous. I'd love to visit Hill Top properly one day, I've only ever been past on a walk. And I'd quite like to read a biography of her as well. A life well lived I think. CJ xx

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  7. A lovely post Amy - many happy childhood memories, Kate xx

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  8. Lovely post Amy, I felt nostalgic when I saw the names, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail as my Mum used to read me those stories and make up ones of her own with those characters in at bedtime. You have a super collection of Beatrix Potter's books and ones about her too:)

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  9. I too am a huge fan of BP - I have that same scrapbook. When we left South Africa to immigrate to England we had limited room to bring things over. My extensive library had to be whittled down, only choosing the books most precious to me. The scrapbook and my little BP books were among those precious few :) Since living in England we have visited Hilltop Farm twice! I feel lucky to have done so and look forward to visiting it many more times in my lifetime :)

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  10. A lovely collection. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Fascinating post about a very interesting lady. Although I have been a frequent visitor to the Lakes in the past I have never visited Hilltop.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your books. 28 years to complete a series is some dedication! But how beautiful they are, and if they give you pleasure, then it's worth it.
    I love how Crazy Brenda became different across her life, from spinster sister and daughter to children's author to Countrywoman. It just shows, it's never too late to change a life!

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  13. Oh Amy I love Beatrix Potter. We visited the BP museum in the lakes ( Bowness?) when I was pregnant with Charlotte and I was completely transfixed. I remember looking at holes in 'trees' to see families of mice going about their business! I've never visited Hill Top though - on the 'must do' list. When Charlotte was a toddler she used to love watching the Beatrix Potter animated series - it and I loved the introduction (have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CTCm-QMmRc ). Magical! A lovely post x Jane

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  14. Lovely post Amy, I adore BP & still have the boys books from childhood & of course the little china bits you tend to get for presents when they were babies. I haven't looked at the books for a while so perhaps it's time they were dusted off. I do have a particularly nice BP craft book too x

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  15. Fascinating, Amy thanks for sharing ! I love your gold book set!

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  16. What a wonderful collection! The scrapbook is a real treasure. I haven't read a Beatrix Potter book in ages.

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  17. Another BP fan here, I have visited Hill Top and the museum and found them both fascinating places. I have read the stories many many times to my own children and to other when I was a childminder for many years. I dont think they ever tired of hearing them.

    Its a wonderful collection of books to have and its obvious they make you very happy. Enjoy every moment of them. xx

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  18. What a wonderful collection, Amy!! So beautiful!! And, I am still chuckling and loving the reason you started blogging! ;) blessings ~ tanna

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  19. what a treasure! I remember reading her books to my children when they were little. I would cherish such a collection!

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  20. What a beautiful collection of books. I've never visited the Lakes but I'd love to one day so that I could visit Hill Top, what a wonderful job your friend has.

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  21. She had such a great talent! Your collection is wonderful!

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  22. Oh, how marvelous! I love these precious books! The scrapbook is so lovely too! Have a beautiful week.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  23. I too love her works and especially her drawings. One of the first sets of books I bought 30 plus years ago for my daughter. Thank you for sharing.

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  24. I thought I was a 'fan' until this post!!! WOW! What a nice bibliography you have compiled for us to work from!!!! Thanks. On the bucket list....Hill Top and the Lake District!!! It just might have moved up a couple notches!

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  25. I like Ms Potter's stories too, but I couldn't get my own kids interested in them. I think it's the slightly old-fashioned wording that is used. The collection you have is impressive! Wendy

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  26. I too am a big Beatrix Potter fan, I'm impressed by your collection. Have you seen the movie Miss Potter with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, nice little movie.

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  27. Dear Amy
    I'm a huge fan too. Have you read the biographies by Margaret Lane? Well worth adding to your collection if not. I have visited Hill Top twice, but would love to go again some time.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  28. I can understand your passion for Beatrix Potter - she was a really great artist ! I don't think of her as just a writer - she was much more than that... What she made was more than books or drawings - for me, it is art (of course, many people will disagree, but then we will end up in the endless discussion of "what can be defined as art").
    I have not yet seen those golden books - those are fantastic !

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  29. Amy, not surprised you have a collection of books, based on your interest in books in general. These are lovely, but I only knew of the children's books by BP. Thanks for sharing!

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  30. What a lively post Amy, and your collection of special editions is very beautiful. As for the scrap book...sigh of envy! I visited Hill Top many years ago, and greatly enjoyed it, it is a rather magical place. How lucky your friend is going to work there! X

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  31. Her life is so interesting to read about isn't it. I saw the film a little while ago and this reflected just how strong willed she was and caring for the environment and people who lived in the area. A lesson for us all xx

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  32. You have a beautiful collection of books, Amy. I haven't read any of her stories since my kids were little, but I always enjoyed them :)

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  33. I have some of the same books about BP, Amy. She's fascinating to me. I love the film Miss Potter, too. I didn't like it the first time I watched it, but now I've watched it many times so I guess I DO like it after all.

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  34. What a lovely collection you have there! I love BP's books and I loved the more recent movie about her life. Fascinating and talented Lady!!! xo

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  35. Wow - you have a great collection, she was a rather interesting woman, so talented too. Love the Miss Potter movie too.

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  36. Wow, such an interesting collection - I have always loved the Peter Rabbit stories (so much so, I decorated my kids' nursery with Peter and his friends). Beatrix Potter led such an interesting life! Thank you for sharing!

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  37. Amy what a wonderful post, I really enjoyed reading this. I didn't know that she was a sheep breeder later on in life but I have seen some of her wonderful botanical art (I love botanical art). Hill Top is very much on my list of places to visit but, living in Kent, it will have to be when I'm on holiday there I think. How lovely that she left much of her estate to the National Trust, which must have still been a relatively young organisation at that time. Your collection of books is lovely. Have a great week. Jxx

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  38. We've visited Hill Top a couple of times and it's a wonderful place. I'm sure your friend will love working there! :o)

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  39. A lovely post celebrating Beatrix Potter, Amy......I have always loved her work and been interested in her life too. I have some of the same books as you show here, and like you I loved reading her letters, they really seem to reveal her personality! I love to visit Hill Top and have been going there at different times of year since my teens. How lovely that your friend will be working there!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Helen xox

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  40. Found that really interesting. We tool Imogen to Beatrix Pottter World a few years ago and it was beautiful xx

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  41. You have a wonderful collection of Beatrix Potter's works. It's so nice that you can collect her stories as they are re-published too. Her stories and artwork are so charming. xx

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  42. OH so lovely Amy! My beans are currently in love with Peter Rabbit and his adventures....they actually act out plays! Thank you for sharing this collection as you have given me some ideas!!! Happy week to you friend! Nicole xoxo

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  43. She was a fascinating personality and her books are so beloved! I have her biography and some of her little children's books that I read to my children when they were young. My Mother also loved her and we nicknamed her 'Muddle Fuddle' after one of the characters in the books because she was, well, muddle fuddled! We would laugh and laugh together over the silly predicaments she would get herself into and that was how she got her nickname. I would love to be able to visit the places she lived - lucky you!! xo Karen

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  44. I'm also a fan and I've been to her beautiful cottage in the Lake District. What a pretty pretty place that was! We stayed at a B&B nearby and I would go for very early morning walks. Each morning I would see the rabbits, the ducks and all the other little animals and felt part of her world. It was magic. Your excellent post brought back wonderful memories!
    Amalia
    xo

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  45. I have to admit that I have never read a Beatrix Potter book!

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  46. What a lovely post, those editions are stunning! If you ever feel like a Beatrix Potter 'fix' (you may have been already) but the National Trust property in my parents' village Long Melford in Suffolk has a Potter link - she used to stay with the family there. They've got her old room set up and some lovely paraphernalia, it's a great property as well - Melford Hall :) xx

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  47. A lovely post, what a delightful collection you have, treasures indeed. Thanks for sharing xcx

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  48. I loved reading the Beatrix Potter stories to my children. I believe my daughter has a complete book of Beatrix Potter stories hidden away somewhere that she will no doubt share with her own children one day should she have them.

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  49. What an amazing collection you have Amy. I love her books, such an amazing woman.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  50. I love your Beatrix Potter collection Amy: I have never seen anything like it! The Journal is absolutely wonderful, and you must really prize it. Peter Rabbit was a childhood favourite for me, and my children, and now into the next generation. I made quilts for my grandsons from fabric printed with the characters, which always make me smile. A lovely and charming post, thank you.

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  51. Love, love, love Beatrix Potter! Her little books are just the very sweetest. What child doesn't love to Peter Rabbit read to them?! Thank you so much for sharing, Amy! *hugs* :)

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  52. Hi Amy, Peter Rabbit holds a special place in our household too! When I was a child, my father purchased a series of the little books and I was given Peter Rabbit crockery and cutlery. I still have my Peter Rabbit baby bowl which my children also used and I am sure it will be there for future grandchildren. The Peter Rabbit stories and illustrations are delightful and Beatrix Potter encapsulates the essence of what it is to be a rabbit in her drawings. Thank you for sharing your precious collection and for giving my daughter some tips about places to visit when she gets to the UK one day. I am sure she will put Hill Top on the top of her list now!

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