Even today, more than 75 years after her death, Beatrix Potter’s beautifully illustrated stories – with animals and landscapes inspired by her beloved home in the English Lake District – are still very popular. Below are 15 fascinating facts about The story of Peter Rabbit Author.
1. Beatrix was not Potter’s real first name.
Beatrix Potter was born in London on July 28, 1866 and baptized after her mother Helen, but was known by her more unusual middle name: Beatrix.
2nd The story of Peter Rabbit was inspired by a letter.
Potter’s most famous book, The story of Peter Rabbit was inspired by an illustrated letter that Potter wrote in 1
3. Peter Rabbit and his friends were based in part on Beatrix Potter’s own pets.
Peter was modeled on Potter’s own pet rabbit, Peter Piper – an esteemed rabbit that Potter often sketched and walked on a leash. Potter’s first pet rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer, was the inspiration for Benjamin Bunny, Peter’s cousin in her books. Potter also loved to sketch Benjamin. After a publisher bought some of her sketches from Benjamin, in 1890 she decided to reward him with some cannabis seeds. “The result was that when I wanted to draw him the next morning, I was drunk and completely unmanageable,” she later wrote in her diary.
4. Beatrix Potter’s house was essentially a menagerie.
Potter kept a number of pets in her classroom at home – rabbits, hedgehogs, frogs, and mice. She would catch wild mice and let them go. When she had to take her back, she shook a handkerchief until the wild mice showed up to fight the imaginary enemy and were immediately scooped up and imprisoned. When her brother Bertram went to boarding school, he left a pair of long-eared bats behind. The animals were difficult to care for, so Potter released one, but the other, a rarer specimen, sent them in chloroform and then went to fill them for their collection.
5. Peter Rabbit was not an instant success.
Potter published the Story of Peter Rabbit In 1901 it financed the edition of 250 copies itself after it had been rejected by several commercial publishers. In 1902 the book was re-published by Frederick Warne & Co after Potter agreed to repeat their black and white illustrations in color. At the end of the first year of printing it was so popular that it had to be reprinted six times.
6. Beatrix Potter understood the power of merchandising.
In 1903, Potter recognized the merchandising opportunities her success offered and made her own Peter Rabbit doll, which she registered with the Patent Office. A Peter Rabbit board game and wallpaper were also produced during her lifetime.
7. Beatrix Potter was a naturalist at a time when most women weren’t.
Potter was fascinated by nature and constantly recorded the world around her in her drawings. Potter was particularly interested in mushrooms and became an accomplished scientific illustrator who wrote a paper: “On the germination of the spores of Agaricineae, She proposed her own theory on how fungal spores multiply. The paper was presented on behalf of Potter by the deputy director of Kew Gardens at a Linnean Society meeting on April 1, 1897 that Potter was unable to attend because women were not allowed to attend all-male Linnean Society meetings at that time – including if their work was considered good enough to be presented.
8. Beatrix Potter sometimes wrote in secret code.
Between 1881 and 1897, Potter kept a diary in which she wrote down her private thoughts in a secret code. This code was so devilishly difficult that it was only cracked and translated in 1958.
9. Beatrix Potter was reportedly a disappointment to her mother.
Despite her great success, Potter was a disappointment to her mother, who wanted a daughter to accompany her on social calls and to have a beneficial marriage. In 1905 Potter accepted her publisher Norman Warne’s marriage proposal. However, her parents were very against the match, as they did not consider it good enough for their daughter and refused to allow the engagement to be published. Unfortunately, Warne died of leukemia a few weeks after the engagement. Potter finally married at the age of 47 a lawyer and related spirit, William Heelis.
10. Beatrix Potter wrote a lot more than you. (Probably.)
Potter was a prolific writer who produced between two and three stories each year and ultimately wrote a total of 28 books, including The story of Nutkin Squirrel , The story of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle , and The story of Mr. Jeremy Fisher . Potter’s stories have been translated into 35 different languages and together sold over 100 million copies.
11. Beatrix Potter asked that one of her books not be published in England.
In 1926 Potter published a longer work, The fairy caravan . It was initially published only in America because Potter thought it was too autobiographical to publish in England during his lifetime. (She also told her English publishers that it was not as good as her other work and that it was not being well received). The book was finally published in Britain nine years after her death in 1943.
12. Beatrix Potter’s later books had to be cobbled together from early drawings.
As her eyesight wore off, it became increasingly difficult for Potter to create the beautiful drawings that characterized her work. As a result, many of her later books were assembled from earlier drawings in her extensive collection of sketchbooks. The story of the little pig Robinson was Potter’s last picture book, published in 1930.
13. A lost work by Beatrix Potter was published in 2016.
A lost Potter story The story of kitty-in-boots , was rediscovered in 2013 and published in summer 2016. The publisher Jo Hanks found evidence of the story in an out-of-print biography of Potter and searched the writer’s archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Hanks discovered a sketch of the kitten in question and a rough layout of the unprocessed manuscript. The story is published with additional illustrations by Quentin Blake.
14. Beatrix Potter was an accomplished sheep farmer.
Potter was an award-winning sheep farmer and in 1943 the first woman to be elected President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association.
15. You can visit Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home.
When Potter died in 1943 at the age of 77, she gave the British National Trust 14 farms and 4,000 acres of land in the Lake District to ensure that the beloved landscape that inspired her work was preserved. The trust opened her house Hill Top, which she bought in 1905, to the public in 1946.