January 2016 | Nate Pedersen

Unknown Beatrix Potter Story Discovered

1537.jpgA previously unknown Beatrix Potter story was discovered in the Victoria & Albert archive in London. The story will be published for the first time this fall with illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Two years ago, Penguin publisher Jo Hanks found mention of the unedited story, entitled "The Tale of Kitty Boots," in a letter that Potter wrote to her publisher in 1914.  A search through the Victoria & Albert archive eventually uncovered the story as well as a rough sketch of Kitty-in-Boots.

The story remained unfinished when Potter died in 1943, despite intentions from the author to finish it  Other Potter letters in the V&A archive reveal that she struggled to return to Kitty-in-Boots after a series of real-life interruptions such as keeping up with the daily chores of sheep farming.

The Kitty-in-Boots story attracted illustrator Quentin Blake to the project, known in particular for his illustrations of the Roald Dahl books. Blake said "It seemed almost incredible when, early in 2015, I was sent the manuscript of a story by Beatrix Potter; one which had lain unpublished for 100 years and which, with the exception of a single drawing, she had never illustrated."

Image: Beatrix Potter/Frederick Warne & Co. & the V&A Museum.