Helen Beatrix Potter July 1866 – December 1943 Life Experiences Beatrix Potter’s family spent Holidays in the south of England, in Scotland, as well as in the English Lake District. These various settings are where Beatrix developed her love for landscape. She painted scenes of these places at a very early age. Her family also had a lot of pets. As a child, she collected and sketched small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Beatrix studied her pets for hours as she drew them. Over the course of her lifetime, Beatrix became an English author, illustrator, mycologist (branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi), and conservationist. Beatrix’s first love was science. During her time period, however, it was very uncommon and difficult for women to contribute in the field of science. This setback led Beatrix to become a children’s book author and illustrator. Literary Achievements Beatrix is best known for her children’s books which feature animal characters with human-like qualities and unforgettable personalities. Her love for science and nature reflect in her work. In 1893, Beatrix wrote and illustrated a story about rabbits. This story was intended for the son of her former home-school professor who became ill. She developed the story in 1901 and titled it The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s Garden. However, all six publishers that she sent her tale to rejected it because of the lack of colored illustrations. In September 1901, Beatrix self-published and circulated 250 copies with the shortened title The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Frederick Warner & Co. published this tale in 1902 where 28,000 copies were printed by the end of the year. Beatrix created a unique style of art that incorporated watercolors. She illustrated accurate and detailed drawings of woodland animals. No humans are ever shown in her books. She requested that her books were made in miniature sizes in order to fit in a child’s small hands. Beatrix wrote 23 small format children’s books. These became known as the 23 tales. Beatrix wished to challenge the reading skills of her readers. Thus, she used sophisticated vocabulary and real-life situations in her stories. The 23 Tales The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) The Tailor of Gloucester (1903) The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904) The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904) The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905) The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905) The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906) The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906) The Story of Miss Moppet (1906) The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907) The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908) The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding (1908) The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909) The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909) The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910) The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911) The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912) The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913) Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (1917) The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918) Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes (1922) The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930) Some Other Books Peter Rabbit’s Painting Book (1911) Tom Kitten’s Painting Book (1917) Jemima Puddle-Duck’s Painting Book (1925) Peter Rabbit’s Almanac for 1929 (1928) The Fairy Caravan (1929) Sister Anne (1932) Wag-by-Wall (1944) The Sly Old Cat (1971) Entertainment The Tales of Beatrix Potter was released on film in 1971. This movie features a number of stories written by Beatrix which are interpreted through the choreography of The Royal Ballet. The Tale of Pigling Bland was presented as a musical theatrical production performed in 2006 by Suzy Conn. In 1982, the British Broadcasting Corporation produced The Tale of Beatrix Potter. In 2007, a documentary was created known as Miss Potter. This movie starred Renee Zellwegger as Ms. Potter. The Legacy of Beatrix Potter Beatrix Potter’s books are known as the best selling children’s books. They are still in print to this day and are even retold in multiple languages! In Beatrix Potter’s will, she gave almost all of her land to Great Britain’s National Trust. This included her cottages, farms, and 4,000 acres of land. Her love and respect for nature shined when she left her property in order to make sure that the beauty of the Lake District and fell farming were not destroyed. This property that was given by Beatrix Potter is now a part of the Lake District National Park.