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The Tale of Beatrix Potter

The life and works of the beloved children's author

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

The life and works of the beloved children's author

"I remember every stone, every tree, the scent of heather; even when the thunder growled in the distance, and the wind swept up the valley in fitful gusts, oh, it was beautiful, home sweet home"

Beatrix Potter

A gifted illustrator, botanist, conservationist, and one of the most beloved children's authors of the modern age. Beatrix Potter was, by any definition of the term, a renaissance woman. Best known for her collection of hugely popular children's books published in the early 20th century—which include, along with twenty other stories, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck—the English author gained notoriety in literary circles for her creation of larger-than-life animal characters whose colourful adventures engaged and entertained readers of all ages. 

Simple narratives, imparting life lessons of friendship and resilience, sustained by the dazzling glory of nature, Beatrix Potter's timeless tales continue to inspire generations of new book lovers, an ode to her enduring legacy as a master storyteller.

Mr Jeremy Fisher Water Feature

The origins of Peter Rabbit and Samuel Whiskers

Helen Beatrix Potter was born in Kensington, London in 1866. Fascinated by the natural world around her, young Beatrix spent much of her childhood drawing animals and plants; filling sketchbook after sketchbook with detailed illustrations of flowers, trees, and the menagerie of pets found in her nursery. From frogs, hedgehogs, and mice to fluffy-tailed rabbits, it was these animal companions who would go on to inspire some of the English author’s most famous characters. Indeed, Mr. Jeremy FisherMiss Tiggy-WinkleSamuel Whiskers and, of course, Peter Rabbit were all based on real-life pets from Beatrix Potter’s childhood.

The early seeds of Beatrix’s stories can also be traced to her annual family holidays in Perthshire. While she and her brother Bertram were given the freedom to explore the ancient landscape of Scotland, often accompanied by their mischievous pet Belgians, Benjamin Bouncer and Peter Piper, the namesake of her most celebrated rabbit, Beatrix’s interest in nature deepened. By the time she was sixteen, the Potter family had moved their holiday destination to the Lake District, a place steeped in natural beauty, one she would fall in love with and write passionately about into her old age:

“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”

samuel whiskers

Beatrix Potter's first publication

Beatrix Potter’s first foray into the world of publishing began when she had designs for a range of greeting cards accepted by Hildesheimer and Faulkner, later sparking interest from a popular children’s annual Changing Pictures. Her beautiful illustrations of children, dogs, and anthropomorphic rabbits attracted plenty of attention for their playful charm and attention to detail. Encouraged enough by their reception, Beatrix decided she would look for a publisher for her unique stories and illustrations. 

Her earliest and most well-known creation, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, originated from a letter sent to Noel Moore, the young son of her former governess Annie Moore. At the heart of the story, a mischievous rabbit called Peter—named after her own rabbit Peter Piper—who was forever getting himself into trouble and episodes of misadventure. While the concept was rejected by many publishers, Beatrix remained determined and resolved to print the story herself.

jemima puddle duck and mr tod
peter rabbit eating radishes

The success of Beatrix Potter

The popularity of Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit was hard to overestimate. Following its self-publication in 1901, and a second run of 250 copies in early 1902, which sold out immediately, publishers began to take notice. In October 1902, Frederick Warne, who had originally rejected Potter’s concept, was emboldened enough by the popularity of Peter Rabbit to print 8,000 first editions of her manuscript, with a further 12,000 copies in November and 8,220 copies in December. Beatrix Potter could hardly contain her astonishment: ‘The public must be fond of rabbits!’  

Hot on the tails of Peter Rabbit’s success, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester followed soon after, and within the next decade, Beatrix Potter had written, illustrated and published fifteen further stories—including The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, and The Tale of Mr Tod. Children and adults alike had fallen in love with the heart-warming tales of Beatrix Potter. 

How can we help?

Beatrix Potter remains one of the most successful children’s writers of all time; with her books selling 40 million copies worldwide. Hill Top Farm, the place where Beatrix wrote many of her books, and home to the rhubarb patch where Jemima Puddle-Duck tried to hide her eggs, can still be visited today.  Her ongoing legacy in the world of literature, art and nature have endured over the years and will continue to inspire generations of readers.

If you’d like to find out more about our stunning range of Beatrix Potter garden sculptures and water features, to bring some literary magic to your outdoor spaces, please do get in touch or explore the Beatrix Potter shop below.



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10 products found

Mr. Jeremy Fisher

Height: 21.3 inches / 54 cm

Cold Cast: £6,700
Hot Cast: £17,000

Peter Rabbit eating Radishes

Height: 17 inches / 43 cm

Cold Cast: £2,000
Hot Cast: £7,500

Peter Rabbit

Height: 19.7 inches / 50 cm

Cold Cast: £1,600
Hot Cast: £6,000

Robin and Spade

Height: 43.3 inches / 110cm

Hot Cast & Spade: £1,200

Robin & Hot Cast Dibber

Height: 27.6 inches / 70 cm

Hot Cast only: £2,500

Mr. Tod

Height: 40 inches / 102 cm

Cold Cast: £6,300
Hot Cast: £20,000

Jemima Puddle-Duck

Height: 23.6 inches / 60 cm

Cold Cast: £5,700
Hot Cast: £15,000

Squirrel Nutkin

Height: 13.8 inches / 35 cm

Cold Cast: £2,200
Hot Cast: £5,500

Samuel Whiskers

Height: 6.3 inches / 16 cm

Cold Cast: £1,200
Hot Cast: £3,200

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Height: 18 inches / 46cm

Hot Cast: £10,500

Posted on August 31st 2023

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