TALE OF PETER’S FIRST PALS

Daily Mail Weekend Magazine - - ANTIQUES ROADSHOW / GOLDEN MOMENTS -

Over the years Beatrix Pot­ter has made a num­ber of Road­show ap­pear­ances. Twenty-three draw­ings and wa­ter­colours by her were brought in to a show in Dum­fries, Scot­land, in 2003 by a man whose wife’s fam­ily had some farm­ing con­nec­tions with the hugely pop­u­lar artist and writer’s brother Ber­tram.

They pre­dated the pub­li­ca­tion of The Tale Of Peter Rab­bit in 1902, some with dates in the 1890s, and they had never been seen out­side the fam­ily. The an­i­mals were in hu­man clothes and sit­u­a­tions but they showed Pot­ter ex­per­i­ment­ing as they were dis­tinct from the fa­mous char­ac­ters that she de­vel­oped later. ‘It was tre­men­dously ex­cit­ing and a won­der­ful find,’ says ex­pert Clive Fara­har. ‘It shows that Beatrix Pot­ter did a lot of prepara­tory draw­ings, lead­ing up to her fa­mous char­ac­ters. They show small an­i­mals like kit­tens or mice or rab­bits in hu­man set­tings do­ing hu­man things. Some are sketches and some are half-fin­ished, a kind of work in progress to­wards the Beatrix Pot­ter we all know and love.’

It’s known that Pot­ter used to make up il­lus­trated sto­ries for the chil­dren of fam­ily and friends, often writ­ten in ex­er­cise books with pasted-in il­lus­tra­tions, and th­ese may have been drawn for such a pur­pose.

VAL­UED AT: Some of the in­di­vid­ual draw­ings at be­tween £10,000 and £50,000, and Clive Fara­har had no hes­i­ta­tion in putting a price of £250,000 on the whole col­lec­tion.

CUR­RENTLY: The col­lec­tion is still with the owner.

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