"The elegance and whimsey of Beatrix Potter's stories and illustrations continue to captivate audiences today, evoking a sense of nostalgia for childhood," said Selby Kiffer, Sotheby's Senior Specialist, Books & Manuscripts. "As a gifted natural history painter, Potter had the ability to infuse anthropomorphic elements into fantastical illustrations, adding a distinctive and timeless charm to her work, the allure of which transcends generations."
Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) - author, illustrator, and conservationist - is best known for her children's books featuring animal characters, notably The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1904) which has sold over 250 million copies worldwide.
Raised in an affluent household, an isolated upbringing nurtured a deep love for nature, inspiring her keen observations and paintings of flora and fauna, particularly fungi. The success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit propelled her into a career dedicated to writing and illustrating children's books. Potter also pioneered character merchandising, with Peter Rabbit becoming the first patented stuffed toy based on a fictional character, the first time a character had been licensed in this way.
In 1905, Potter purchased Hill Top Farm in the picturesque Lake District, marking the beginning of her lifelong commitment to preserving the unique landscape, as she acquired additional farms over the years. A passionate breeder of Herdwick sheep and an ardent advocate for land preservation, Potter's interests expanded beyond her literary pursuits and extends beyond her literary achievements; she left an indelible mark on the Lake District National Park, as she bequeathed most of her property to the National Trust.