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Beatrix Potter’s London: The Birth of Peter Rabbit

At the end of July, the V&A will present Beatrix Potter's London, a display that marks the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter, and celebrates the influence that London had on her life and works.

At the end of July, the V&A will present Beatrix Potter’s London, a display that marks the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter, and celebrates the influence that London had on her life and works.

From 28th July to 28 April 2017, Potter fans will see a selection of artworks, original sketches and Potter’s earliest published works, showing her relationship with London, exploring how the children’s author and illustrator (best known for being the creator of Peter Rabbit), was influenced by the cultural life of her birthplace.

Although Potter is often associated with the sweeping landscapes of the Lake District depicted in her illustrations, she actually spent most of her life at her family home at 2, Bolton Gardens in South Kensington. In fact, Beatrix Potter’s London begins by looking at Potter’s birthplace and family home, and her upbringing within an artistic family in Kensington, well placed for navigating London’s art world.

BP.301 Drawings Museum tower in the centre (recto) and part study of wallflowers (verso), watercolour and pencil, by Beatrix Potter, Bolton Gardens, London, 1882, Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.16 Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) Bolton Gardens 06/1882 Watercolour over pencil
BP.301
Drawings
Museum tower in the centre (recto) and part study of wallflowers (verso), watercolour and pencil, by Beatrix Potter, Bolton Gardens, London, 1882, Linder Bequest cat. no. LB.16
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)
Bolton Gardens
06/1882
Watercolour over pencil

Works on show will reflect her London daily life, her house, gardens and the schoolroom where she was educated by a private governess, and where she kept her menagerie of pets. The young Potter was largely a self-taught artist and a highlight of the display shows a study of a rabbit thought to be the ‘real’ Peter Rabbit – a family pet that she spent much time drawing at home.

The V&A holds the world’s largest collection of Potter’s drawings, literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and related material. Beatrix Potter’s London will reveal how the Museum’s relationship with the author began in her lifetime, showing evidence of her many visits to the V&A and Natural History Museum, and also Kew Gardens, where she made scholarly studies and sketches. These include two watercolour paintings made after Thomas Gainsborough portraits, and copies of landscape drawings by John Constable in the V&A collection.

The final section of the display looks at her earliest published works, including drawings submitted to Hildesheimer & Faulkner as greeting card designs in 1890. The display culminates with the eventual publication of the much-loved The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902 by London firm Frederick Warne & Co., who continue to publish the books today.

www.vam.ac.uk

V&A
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 2RL

Free admission
Open daily from 10.00 to 17.45 and until 22.00 on Fridays.