Presentation Script & reserches
page 1. I can assume everybody knows about Beatrix Potter (1866–1943). She is one of the world's best-selling and best-loved children's authors. She wrote and illustrated 28 books that have been translated into more than 35 languages and sold over 100 million copies. As an illustrator myself, I was strongly drawn into her life and her love of art and love of natural world.
Her life was also a piece of art which was created with various dramatic issues and event. In this presentation, I would like to focus on her life as a woman artist and an author.
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on 28th July 1866 at 2 Bolton Gardens, in Kensington, London to a wealthy family.
page 2. Both Beatrix's parents lived on inheritances from the cotton trade (Imagine this, cotton trade, it was the root of the industrialization which started in England).
The Potters were a typical Victorian family, living in a large house with servants. Beatrix was looked after by a nanny, spending most of her time in the big nursery at the top of the house and often only seeing her parents at bedtime. When she was old enough to start lessons, the nursery was converted to a schoolroom and Beatrix was taught on her own by a governess. In those days, a girl of her social class often did not go to school.
Beatrix’s parents didn’t give her many opportunities to mix with other children but they were tolerant of the animals in the schoolroom.
Though qualified as a barrister, her father, Rupert, focused much of his time on his passion for art and photography. Beatrix artistic influence does not stop with his father, her mother Helen was a fine embroiderer and water-colourist. Her parents actively attended social life among a group of writers, artists and politicians and the family included many connoisseurs and practitioners of art. Furthermore, Beatrix’s paternal grandfather, was co-founder and president of the Manchester School of Design.
They encouraged her interest in art, providing her with special art tutors and taking her to see exhibitions at galleries.
page 3,4. However, the most exciting time of the year for Beatrix was the summer. Every year her father rented a large house in Scotland for three months. The whole family travelled north by train with the dog, the servants and the carriage horses. Beatrix’s smaller creatures, such as a rabbit or mice, travelled with her in boxes.
It was a usual routine for English noble families. Early family holidays were spent at Alguise, a country house in Perthshire, Scotland. When she was sixteen, Dalguise House was not available and so the family rented a property in the English Lake District instead. This was Beatrix’s first visit to the Lakes and she fell completely in love with the beauty of the countryside. All these experiences in countryside greatly influenced her life as an artist, illustrator and an author. This allowed her to freely explore, observe and learn to appreciate the details of the natural world for rest of her life.
page 5. Her visit to the Lake District also led to a meeting with a young charismatic local vicar Hardwicke Rawnsley. He had a strong opinion in need of preserving the environment of nature, which also made a strong impression on Beatrix. Later, Rawnsley became one of the three founders of the National Trust, dedicated to preserving places of historic interest and natural beauty.
page 4. All her life, Beatrix supported the National Trust. She followed the principals of the organization while managing and preserving her land, she maintained the traditional buildings and farming methods. This showed her appreciation toward preserving rural culture and the beautiful scenery.
Later in her life, she moves to the Lake District, and it is still preserved as it was.
page 5. Although Potter had sold some of her artwork for greetings cards and illustrations in the early 1890s, she devoted most of her energy to the study of natural history - archaeology, geology, entomology and, especially, mycology.
page 6. She became particularly interested in funghi, and wrote a paper called On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae (gilled funghi). In 1897, that paper was presented with the help of her uncle, who was a notable chemist Sir Henry Roscoe. The Assistant Director of Kew on Beatrix’s behalf presented it to the (all male) Linnean Society. However, being an amateur but more significantly, being a woman, her efforts were not taken seriously. Therefore her theories were rejected.
page 7,8. This led her to focus more on drawing and painting. In fact, she already had some income from that of her talent through commissions from greetings and card company. She had begun to send letters with her own illustrations to her former governess, Annie Moore. This is where The Peter Rabbit was born in the letter that Beatrix sent to Annnie’s son Noel in 1893. Seven years later, Beatrix asked to borrow the letter back, and started her first book The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
page 8-18 pictures...