10 Things You Didn't Know About Beatrix Potter

Author, artist, botanist and businesswoman, Beatrix Potter was a multi-talented and inspirational woman whose charming books have delighted generations of young readers. Find out more about the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and many other unforgettable stories.

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1. Born on 28 July 1866 in Kensington, London, Beatrix enjoyed a childhood full of art and nature, alongside her little brother, Walter.

The siblings often sketched their numerous pets, including rabbits, mice, frogs, lizards, snakes and even a bat! Beatrix quickly developed an enduring fascination with the natural world, reinforced by her tranquil summers in the Scottish countryside and Lake District.

2. Beatrix owned rabbits as a child which inspired the creation of her beloved bunny characters.

She would take her first rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer, for walks on a lead and feed him buttered toast. Her second rabbit, Peter Piper, accompanied her everywhere.

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3. Beatrix never went to school, but was nonetheless a diligent student.

Her parents employed an art teacher, Miss Cameron, and several governesses, including Annie Moore, to whom Beatrix remained close throughout her life.

4. The artistic and intelligent young Beatrix was invited to study fungi at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, where she produced hundreds of meticulous botanical drawings and investigated cultivation and growth.

She became a skilful scientific illustrator and developed her own theory of how fungus spores reproduced, recording it in a paper entitled 'On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae'.

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5. Beatrix was an illustrator before she was an author and loved to draw illustrations for her favourite stories, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella.

Her earliest published works were designs and illustrations for greetings cards for the publisher Hildesheimer & Faulkner.

6. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected by several publishers, so, in December 1901, Beatrix decided to publish the story herself, printing 250 copies.

It was an instant success and drew the attention of the publishing house Frederick Warne & Co., which had previously rejected it. They published it with full-colour illustrations in October 1902 and it became an immediate bestseller.

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7. Beatrix developed a relationship with her editor at the publishing house, Norman Warne.

Despite Beatrix's parents' opposition, the two were engaged in 1905 - but Norman tragically died from leukaemia just a month later.

8. Beatrix was a savvy businesswoman. She designed the first Peter Rabbit doll herself and had it licensed at the patent office, making Peter Rabbit the world's oldest licensed literary character.

She investigated further merchandise options, too, such as bedroom slippers, tea sets and a board game, but was always adamant that they must remain faithful to her original illustrations.

9. She used her income to invest in farmland in her beloved Lake District.

During her lifetime, she bought 15 farms and was very involved in caring for them.

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Hill Top House

10. As she invested, she developed a relationship with William Heelis, a local solicitor, who proposed to her in 1912.

They lived together at Castle Cottage in the Lake District until Beatrix's death in 1943. She left a wonderful legacy, gifting over 4,000 acres of land and 14 farms to the National Trust. Hill Top Farm, which inspired many of her stories, has been left exactly as it was when she lived there, and receives thousands of visitors every year.

Make sure to browse our range of beautiful Beatrix Potter books.

  • ABNAU Toddlers
    Toddlers
    • £5.39
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    "My First Learning Library" contains four chunky board books that introduce the youngest children to early concepts. The titles are: Words, Numbers, Shapes and Colours. The palette is soft and illustrations are in the classic Potter style. Each double page contains a single illustration and just one simple word. These hard-wearing board books will soon become firm family favourites, and are the perfect introduction for very young children to the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter.
  • ADCFJ 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £0.10Save 1.0000000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125%
    To mark the centenary of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" all 23 original Peter Rabbit Books are being re-launched.
  • ADCFD 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
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    "The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle" was first published in 1905, and is as charming today as it was then. It tells the tale of a hidden home high in the hills. It is discovered one day by a little girl called Lucie, who is in search of her missing pocket handkerchiefs. She knocks on the tiny door, and meets Mrs Tiggy-winkle who does all the washing and ironing for the neighbouring animals. Lucie spends a lovely day helping her, and it's only right at the end of the day that she realises Mrs Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog! "The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle" is number six in "Beatrix Potter's" series of 23 little books, the titles of which are as follows: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"; "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"; "The Tailor of Gloucester"; "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"; "The Tale of Two Bad Mice"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle"; "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"; "The Tale of Tom Kitten"; "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck"; "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse"; "The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes"; "The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse"; "The Tale of Mr. Tod"; "The Tale of Pigling Bland";"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers"; "The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan"; "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"; "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson"; "The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit"; "The Story of Miss Moppet"; "Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes"; and, "Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes".
  • ADCFI 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
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    Beatrix Potter's famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail is as popular today as it was when it was first published over 100 years ago. Join Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and all his cousins as they make their way over to Owl Island to gather nuts. See what happens when Old Brown, the terrifying owl guardian of the island decides he has had enough of silly Nutkin's cheekiness! Ouch!! "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" is number two in Beatrix Potter's series of 23 little books, the titles of which are as follows: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is number one in "Beatrix Potter's" series of 23 little books, the titles of which are as follows: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"; "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"; "The Tailor of Gloucester"; "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"; "The Tale of Two Bad Mice"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle"; "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"; "The Tale of Tom Kitten"; "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck"; "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse"; "The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes"; "The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse"; "The Tale of Mr. Tod"; "The Tale of Pigling Bland";"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers"; "The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan"; "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"; "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson"; "The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit"; "The Story of Miss Moppet"; "Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes"; and, "Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes".
  • ACMNM 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
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    Poor Jemima. All she wants to do is lay her eggs in peace, and be allowed to hatch them herself. At last she flies off and finds the perfect place. Little does the silly duck realise that the charming gentleman who has lent her his woodshed is busily planning a delicious meal of...roast duck! Jemima was a real duck belonging to Beatrix Potter, who lived at her farm, Hill Top. The story also features Beatrix's own sheepdog, Kep, who thankfully manages to save Jemima from a nasty fate! "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck" is number nine in Beatrix Potter's series of 23 little books, the titles of which are as follows: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"; "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"; "The Tailor of Gloucester"; "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"; "The Tale of Two Bad Mice"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle"; "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"; "The Tale of Tom Kitten"; "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck"; "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies"; "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse"; "The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes"; "The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse"; "The Tale of Mr. Tod"; "The Tale of Pigling Bland"; "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers"; "The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan"; "The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"; "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson"; "The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit"; "The Story of Miss Moppet"; "Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes"; and, "Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes".
  • RIX2 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £2.99
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £3.00Save 50.00%
    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the first in Beatrix Potter's series of 23 books.

    It tells the tale of a mischievous young rabbit who narrowly escapes a frightening fate when he ventures into Mr McGregor's vegetable garden.

    With beautiful illustrations and an affectionate and touching storyline, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is totally deserving of its iconic status in children's literature. This book would make a lovely gift for children aged 3 and above.
  • SOBP
    • £4.99
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £12.00Save 69.999999999999996589394868351519107818603515625%
    As well as being the creator of classic characters including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Squirrel Nutkin, Beatrix Potter lived an extraordinary life of her own.

    This biography from Sarah Gristwood unveils just how extraordinary Beatrix's life was. Describing her as a woman of contradictions (a sheltered Victorian daughter who grew into an astute modern businesswoman; a talented artist who became a scientific expert; a famous author who gave everything up to be a farmer...), this book follows the key turning points in Beatrix's life.

    From her brief first engagement to her happy second marriage and how she drew inspiration from her childhood pets and beloved locations in the Lake District, this book also explores Beatrix's last 30 years - when she abandoned books and worked as a farmer and conservationist, saving thousands of acres of the Lake District that still thrive today.
  • HW3114
    • £8.99
    • RRP £13.00
    • Save £4.01Save 29.99999999999999857891452847979962825775146484375%
    Featuring Beatrix Potter's beautiful artwork of Peter Rabbit, this set of five nested storage boxes is extremely handy to have around the home.

    So gorgeous that they appeal to both adults and children, the circular storage boxes are useful for keeping trinkets, stationery, jewellery and so much more safe and organised.

    Dimensions: Box 1 Size - 240 x 125mm, Box 2 Size - 220 x 116mm, Box 3 Size - 200 x 105mm, Box 4 Size - 180 x 94mm, Box 5 Size - 160 x 84mm
  • KTB2 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £6.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £6.00Save 46.00000000000000142108547152020037174224853515625%
    Beatrix Potter's classic story of Kitty Boots is presented here in hardback and with illustrations from the inimitable Quentin Blake.

    Miss Kitty is getting set to go out hunting in her beautiful boots. She normally gets into all sorts of scrape, but on this particular night she meets the foxiest hunter of them all - Mr. Tod.

    This is a funny story filled with mistaken identity, devious villains and an appearance from Peter Rabbit.
  • ATCUY
    • £9.09
    • RRP £9.99
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    Rediscover the charm of the World of Beatrix Potter with this enchanting colouring book filled with all your favourite characters. With beautiful pages to colour, this charming colouring book is the perfect gift for any Beatrix Potter fan.