On this day in 1866 English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist Beatrix Potter was born. She is best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck amongst others.
Potter was raised alone and schooled by governesses having been born into an upper-middle-class family. She loved her pets and vacationed in Scotland and the Lake District, where she developed a love of the outdoors and animals, which she carefully studied and painted.
She was passionate about entomology, researched archaeological artefacts from London digs, and collected fossils. She painted and sketched her specimens in all of these fields with increasing skill. Her research focus shifted to mycology in the 1890s and gained a great deal of respect due to her studies of mushrooms and the watercolours she painted.
Potter self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a phenomenally popular children's book, in her thirties. With this success Beatrix Potter then started working full-time on children's book writing and illustration, producing 23 tales of books. Such characters included Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck, Mrs Tiggy winkle etc…
In 1905, Potter purchased Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a community located in the Lake District. With the wealth that the books brought she began purchasing more farms throughout the years to protect the distinctive hillside beauty and countryside. She found love and wed Hawkshead-based solicitor William Heelis in 1913 when she was 47 years old.
Potter passed away on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at the age of 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park.
(Daisy the dog and me in the Lake District)
This week's sketch….