To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, the Victoria and Albert Museum is displaying some of her unseen drawings in its exhibition, Beatrix Potter’s London. Although the central figure of her books, the beloved Peter Rabbit, is known to millions, the exhibition displays newly discovered pictures and illustrations.
The V&A has the largest collection of Potter’s material in the world, and the exhibition showing a series of images, letters, sketches and some of her earliest published work. Her work can be most associated with the beauty of the Lake District, which is the basis for many of her stories. However in her earlier years she lived and experienced London life in what was referred to as the ‘suburbs’ of South Kensington. She spent many hours studying in the V&A and the (then) newly built Natural History Museum collection.
This attention to detail was beautiful to see in her illustrations, especially in her watercolours which really came alive in the exhibition. The collection was quite small though and we felt that they could have expanded this much further.
If you like the pieces at the V&A and you’d like to see more, The Beatrix Potter Collections are based at Blythe House Archive & Library Reading Room, near Olympia, and are open to all with an interest in Beatrix Potter and her work. By appointment only.