For today, I’ve prepared an article that is important to me!
When I was a child, I loved the cartoons from Beatrix Potter’s stories. These are the credits!
More recently, during a journey near Manchester, my welcoming family -which I will never thank enough- took me to the Lake District -a breathtaking place- in order to visit Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top house. It was a magic moment! You can get more details here.
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was a British naturalist writer famous for her stories for children.
She was born into an upper-middle class family. She received an education in the fashion of her century, that is to say, with little contact with her parents, away from the world, surrounded by governesses and quickly sent to boarding school. As a child, she suffers from loneliness and fills it by developing her artistic talents.
For summer, the family settles in the Lake District in Northern England. It is a paradise for the girl who studies nature and deepens her scientific knowledge. However, being a woman, she is relegated to the amateur ranks. It was there she met the vicar Hardwicke Rawnsley, who struggles for the protection of the environment and will found the National Trust in 1895.
In 1890, she creates her first greeting cards from her drawings of animals and plants. At the same time, the son of his housekeeper catches scarlet fever. To support his recovery, Beatrix invents the story of four little rabbits named Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. It will take seven years for this original story to become a true book illustrated in black and white.
No publisher seems interested so Beatrix Potter decides to publish it herself in a collection she sees different from children’s books of the time, unwieldy and too watered down. This is an immediate success.
Beatrix Potter is 36 years old, she still lives with her parents, but earns a living for the first time. The next ten years will see the birth of 23 albums. The family of Peter Rabbit is growing: Jeremy Fisher Toad, Cecily Parsley, Miss Moppet and others operating in an often cruel world. The author, recognized, frees herself gradually from the tutelage of her parents.
After the tragic death of her fiancé, Norman Warne Dalziel, Beatrix remains unmarried until the age of 47 years. In 1913, she married Williams Heelis, a Lake District notary. However, her marriage to William Heelis is the end of her literary career. Mrs Heelis is loved, accompanied by a man who shares her love of nature, so she no longer needs a world of paper to fill her solitude. She gradually abandoned Peter Rabbit to devote, with her husband, to rural life and breeding sheep.
In 1905, Beatrix Potter bought the Hill Top Farm with the money earned with her autorship. Therefore, this farm has been a place of comfort, independence, where she wrote, drew. In love with the region, she has subsequently invested in many other properties and contributed to the development and protection of Hill Top. She loved her house so much that she refused to live in it with her husband.
At her death, she donates 14 farms, 16 km2 of land, her sheeps and, of course, her rabbits -which, she claimed, were the descendants of the true Peter Rabbit- to the National Trust. She wished the house of Hill Top to be preserved in every detail. Thus, you can still find some shoes, a shawl, an unfinished tapestry that never moved.
The visit to this place is a full of emotions journey through time ! I never read the little books of Beatrix Potter in my childhood, but once in Hill Top, I could not help buying one in its original edition! I chose the one I remember best, namely Benjamin Bunny. I sincerely recommend this story to all children because it is full of tenderness!
Moral: the magic of childhood is universal and eternal. That is why I am convinced that the stories of Beatrix Potter -a great woman- will get trough generations!