Beatrix Potter

Archive & Library Reading Room, Blythe House, Olympia

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The V&A is a major resource for the study of Beatrix Potter. The museum holds the world's largest collection of her drawings, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and related materials. Besides studies for her Tales, nursery rhymes and fairy tales, the collection is strong in natural history and landscape watercolours and includes some family archival material.

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The V&A's Potter collections began with Leslie Linder (1904–73), the engineer and Potter enthusiast known for decoding Potter's secret diary. His substantial bequest of artworks led to further acquisitions, including his working papers, Potter family artworks, books and albums. The V&A also takes care of important loans: individual treasures like the 'Peter Rabbit' picture letter and Beatrix's paint box, the Linder Trust and Beatrix Potter Society collections and Frederick Warne & Co. Archive.

Collection Highlights

drawing
View across Esthwaite Water, by Beatrix Potter, 21 November 1909. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.542.
drawing
Drawing of water lilies, by Beatrix Potter, probably 1906, probably Esthwaite Water, Cumbria. Linder Collection cat. no. LC.3.A.2
photograph
Beatrix Potter with her dog, Spot, at Dalguise, Rupert Potter, 1880. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.2083.
drawing
Drawing, examples of fungi, by Beatrix Potter, 1897, Ullock, Cumbria. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.292.
drawing
At Evening's Close, by Beatrix Potter, about 1902, Eeswyke, Sawrey. Linder Collection cat. no. LC.4.A.2.
letter
Illustrated letter to Nancy Nicholson, featuring the story of 'The Oakmen', by Beatrix Potter, dated December 1916.
drawing
Jeremy Fisher sitting on a water lily, fishing; a preparatory drawing for The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, by Beatrix Potter, 1906. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.839.
drawing
Duchess walking down a leafy path, background study for an early version of The Pie and the Patty-Pan, by Beatrix Potter, 1902. Linder Bequest Cat. no. LB.764.
drawing
The Lady Mouse curtseys, variant illustration for p. 24 of 'The Tailor of Gloucester', by Beatrix Potter, 1903, Britain.
drawing
Landscape at Sidmouth, background study for The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930), by Beatrix Potter, possibly 1904. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.828.
drawing
Lady rabbit and gentleman rabbit passing on the street, design for a Christmas card, by Beatrix Potter, June 1890. Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.1769.
drawing
Studies of a cat, by Beatrix Potter, late 19th/early 20th century. Museum no. BP.385(B), Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.131.

Features

Background image: The Rabbits' Christmas Party: Roasting Apples, by Beatrix Potter, about 1892, watercolour and pen and ink on paper. Museum no. BP.1471(c), Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.1005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London