Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943
Long before she was a published author, Beatrix Potter drew illustrations for some of her favourite stories, including
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella, as well as her sketches from nature.
One of Beatrix’s earliest stories, that of Peter Rabbit, came from a picture letter originally sent to Annie Moore’s son Noel. After being rejected by several publishers, Beatrix decided to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit herself, printing an initial 250 copies for family and friends in December 1901. The book’s instant success encouraged Frederick Warne & Co., who had previously turned it down, to reconsider their decision, offering to take it on as long as Beatrix re-illustrated it in colour. On publication in October 1902, it was an immediate bestseller.
The following year, Beatrix published The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester with Frederick Warne, and the rest of her legendary tales followed.
In addition to commercial success, Beatrix also found a suitor in the form of her editor at the publishing house, Norman Warne. Although chaperoned, a relationship between the two bloomed, but his proposal was opposed by Beatrix’ parents as he worked ‘in trade’. Despite this, Beatrix became engaged to Norman in 1905.