Beatrix Potter memorabilia comes to Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

Victorian Reader

Victorian Reader

2016-07-06 09:18:28

A special sale of Beatrix Potter memorabilia will take place at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions later this month, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of her birth.

Central to the sale is the collection of John Cawood, a prominent member of the Beatrix Potter Society, whose collection of first editions and works on paper has been assembled carefully over more than 40 years.

Leading the auction is a highly rare first edition of Potter's debut book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, described as "one of the most important children's books of the twentieth century".

After submitting the work to several publishers without success, Potter became so frustrated that she paid for 250 copies to be privately printed by Strangeways in December 1901, featuring her own black and white line drawings.

These copies proved so popular with her friends, family and contemporaries, including Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that she ordered a second printing of the book. Frederick Warne & Co. quickly took another look at the manuscript Potter had submitted to them, and agreed to publish her book on a larger scale, with full colour illustrations throughout.

The book offered at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury is one of those first 250 copies, complete with its colour frontispiece and original grey-green boards, and is estimated to sell for £25,000 - £35,000 ($32,340 - $45,270).

(Image: Dreweatts & Bloomsbury)

(Image: Dreweatts & Bloomsbury)

Another notable lot is Potter's watercolour design for the mouse in The Story of Miss Moppet. Signed and dated circa 1906, the highly rare original colour illustration was only ever reproduced in monochrome, and is estimated at £8,000 - £12,000 ($10,350 - $15,520).

Further highlights will include a first issue and first edition of The Tailor of Gloucester, one of 500 copies printed privately by Beatrix Potter in 1902, estimated at £3,000 - £4,000 ($3,880 - $5,175); a first edition copy of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, estimated at £700 - £900 ($900 - $1,165); and a first edition copy of Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes, published in 1917, estimated at £1,800 - £2,200 ($2,330 - $2,845).

'Beatrix Potter: Books & Works on Paper, inc. the John R. Cawood Collection' takes place at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury in London on July 28.

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