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!
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.