Monday, 3 October 2016

Beatrix Potter again...

I have a love for female authors it seems.  Especially those from my childhood.  Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beatrix Potter among them.

The first of these that I became interested in finding out more about was Beatrix Potter.  I have several books about her and several biographies of her.  I have also been collecting the Centenary Editions of her little books and have all of them that have been issued to date.

2016 is the 150th anniversary of Potters birth.  The National Trust have been holding several events to celebrate this and Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire held an exhibition (which ends on 18th September) to display some of Potters pictures.  I had to visit and in July we went to see them.

You will probably be familiar with her little books telling the stories of Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggywinkle and others.  However, you might not be aware that Potter was one of the most important people in the founding of the National Trust.  On her death she left them much of her land in the Lake District, her home, Hill Top, and many other properties and a large number of her very special drawings of the characters for her little books.

The legacy has been a very important one indeed.

As I have read more about her and found out more about her I have been interested more in her as a person and the work that she did, rather than the characters that she wrote about.  Don't get me wrong, I love Peter Rabbit and his friends as much as anyone, but it is Beatrix Potter herself that interests me more than anything.

That is all a diversion from what I really wanted to say in any case, so back to it!

We went to see the paintings and drawings.  They were beautiful!  There was also an original Peter Rabbit toy made by Potter.  It was wonderful!  Of course I would always love to see more of her pictures, but access to them is very limited and very controlled by the National Trust, which I find a little hmmm.... as other things are not so limited.  I think they are trying to create a scarcity factor that isn't really required.  That is just my opinion though and as you know I am a great supporter of the National Trust and the work that they do.  Part of the creation of this scarcity is the fact that photos are not allowed, so sorry, as much as I was tempted to try and take a sneaky picture, no photos.


Just to share a little something with you though, this is a photo from the information leaflet handed out at Mottisfont Abbey.

I can thoroughly recommend going to see any of her drawings if you can, they are incredible works of art and fascinating to see!  There are always some on display in the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead in The Lake District.  I have been there and they are wonderful.  The display is ever changing, so even if you have been before it is worth a repeat visit.

This is just one of the Centenary Editions of the little books that I am collecting.


After our visit to the exhibition - and the rest of Mottisfont Abbey of course! - a little shopping did take place to add to my collection of books about Beatrix Potter.

A new book published by the National Trust called The Story of Beatrix Potter.  It is beautifully and lavishly illustrated - rather in contradiction to what I have already said about the sharing of images!  Also two new little books, Miniature Letters which continues some of the correspondence between and about the characters and The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter.  Oh, and slightly randomly, a new updated copy of the Hill Top guidebook!  You know, just because...




Above is the new guidebook, and below is the old one I have.  Both are different and wonderful in their own ways so I am glad to have both!


I could write much more about Potter and my experiences with her work and places, but I will leave it there for today.  If you are interested in reading more about the little I know and have experienced let me know and in the future I will see if I can write and share some more posts.

Do you like Potter's work?  Which is your favourite character?  I would love to know!

Amy

This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.

23 comments:

  1. I think the National Trust do some good work, but I do wonder what BP would have thought of their membership prices and the fact that many hard-working people are unable to afford to visit their houses or indeed see her paintings.Their no photos rule covers so many properties - sad

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  2. I agree with Sue that it seems a shame that many of the treasures of the National Trust are beyond the pockets of so many. But I do love Beatrix Potter's drawings and the story of her life was fascinating. She was a great farmer too!

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  3. I have a huge fondness for Jeremy Fisher I have no idea why, Mrs Tiggywinkle too. I have a fondness for the National Trust too but have so little time at present to visit any properties at present, ah well there is always next year x

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  4. When I went to the Lake District this year I was more interested in Wordsworth and we drove right past the Beatrix Potter museum. Now I think we should have made the effort and gone in. Maybe next time....

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  5. I think it's a shame that the National Trust limit access to her work, I'm sure she entrusted them with it so that it could be enjoyed by everyone. It must have been a very interesting exhibition.

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  6. I am a great fan of all things Beatrix Potter, my daughter had the full collection of books and porcelain ornaments as a child. She still has her collection and now reads them to her own children, what a joy.

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  7. I do love Beatrix Potter books, although as a child that wasn't the case. The thought of Peter Rabbit being put in a pie terrified me. I really must make a visit to Hill Top soon, it's been so long since I was there last. X

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  8. I have enjoyed the Beatrix Potter books for many years and particularly love the illustrations. It is all the details she included which are so special. I would love to see some of the original drawings.

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  9. I, too, enjoy Beatrix Potter and all her little books. I'm not sure who my favorite is. I'd have to re-read all the books to see. There are resemblances of some of her characters to human characters in my life. Certain figurines I have are given names of family members. :) I'd love to visit Hill Top someday.

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  10. I love Beatrix Potter and her books, Jeremy Fisher is my favorite character.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your visit, Amy. I admire Beatrix Potter's work. As a child I especially worried about Peter's fate! Now I am glad I can revisit his story:). xx

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  12. Lovely post. I remember reading the books when I was a child. Your post makes me want to find some copies and re-read!

    Have a happy Monday

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  13. My boys loved the little books by Beatrix Potter. More recently I read the Cottage Tales series by Susan Wittig Albert, fiction, with Beatrix Potter and her animal friends as characters. This led me to a greater interest in BP and I have collected several books about her in addition to the movie Miss Potter. Enjoy seeing/reading anything about her.

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  14. Interesting that some authors have become famous enough to draw folks to their exhibits. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. That sounds just your cup of tea. The illustrations are so pretty, it must have been fascinating to see the exhibition. x

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  16. I love Beatrix Potter books and items, and have a post in the making about the things I have. I didn't know the connection to the National Trust.

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  17. My grandmother bought me and my siblings one book each of the little book series. I had Mrs Tiggywinkle, so I have a great fondness for her as she bustled about. She reminded me of my other grandmother from England. I can understand why no photos are allowed of BP's work, as flashes will deteriorate paintings over time. Apart from that, I'm sure they want exclusive rights to any photos taken of her things. I'm really tempted to check out this new collection, but at the same time I don't want more books!
    Wendy

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  18. I love her work too and really enjoyed the book about her life. We visited Hill Top when we were in the UK and it was really lovely but oh so busy. The gardens which were free to visit were lovely too so I guess that might be a way to see a little bit of the world of Beatrix Potter without a price tag.

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  19. I love Beatrix Potter! When I first saw England in 1981, I recognized many of the flowers in the gardens there because of her drawings, I had looked at her books so much as a child.
    It is because of her that England has the beautiful Lake District to enjoy. Beatrix Potter is one of my heroes!!

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  20. Thanks for the look into Beatrix Potter. I always thought her illustrations were so gentle and pretty.

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  21. Hello Amy I enjoyed this blog on Beatrix Potter ,I too love her work .I visited Hill Top house a few years ago .It is beautifully kept as a museum preserved well .I can still remember how wonderful it felt to walk through her little cottage ,see her desk table ,the dolls house etc.I bought a Peter rabbit book which still has Hill Top house stamp on it.When I lived in my tiny cottage alone with my two boys ,in Wales ,it was litterly up a steep hill ,our cottage was second from top in the lane .So of course I named it Hill Top as a kind of high five to Beatrix,as she too was a strong woman living alone.My favourite character is Mrs Tabitha ,Tom kitten mum.I also have named my youngest boy Thomas but call him Tom .lol .Hope you are well .x

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  22. I love Beatrix Potter's art! Oh about 25 years ago, I found vintage even - at that time - curtains. I was pregnant with our first child and I did the whole nursery Peter Rabbit just because of those curtains. I still have them...

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  23. I love her books. I used to collect the little figures made by Royal Doulton. I saw some of her illustrations when they were displayed at Mottisfont before in 2010.
    Lisa x

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