Rare Beatrix Potter photographs to auction at Sotheby's

Pages of Melanie

Pages of Melanie

2016-07-11 10:42:21

A collection of rare photographs documenting the life of children's author Beatrix Potter will be offered at Sotheby's in London this week.

The collection of more than 200 photographs span forty years, from Potter's childhood through to her middle age, and offers an insight into her personal and family life.

The majority of the photographs are the work of the author's father Rupert Potter, a barrister and talented amateur photographer who first took up the hobby in the 1860s.

He documented his family's holidays in the Lake District, during which his daughter took inspiration from the natural world which would later fuel her celebrated children's stories.

When Beatrix later began to use photography herself, taking photographs of animals as references for her illustrations, she learned with her father's old camera, which she described in her journals as "a most inconveniently heavy article which he refuses to use".

Amongst the highlights are Potter's own copy of her most famous photograph, depicting her in the doorway of her home at Hill Top Farm, along with family portraiture, images of holidays in Scotland, and many photographs of animals including the original Benjamin Bunny himself.

Together, the photographs are expected to achieve in the region of £10,000 ($12,890).

The Sotheby's sale features a number of other treasures for Potter collectors, most notably a previously unrecorded illustration entitled 'Kitten Warming her Paws by the Kitchen Fire'.

The ink and watercolour drawing is evidently an alternate version of 'Pussy-Cat sits by the fire', first published on page 24 of Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes in 1922, and is expected to sell for £12,000 - £16,000 ($17,330 - $23,107).

Rare books on offer include a first edition copy of The Fairy Caravan, one of just 100 copies privately printed by the author in 1929, estimated at £2,000 - £3,000 ($2,888 - $4,333); and signed presentation copies of The Tailor of Gloucester and The Story of Miss Moppet, offered together with an estimate of £1,000 - £1,500 ($1,444 - $2,166).

The Sotheby’s sale of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations takes place in London on Tuesday July 12.

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