Helen Beatrix Potter was born July 28th 1866 in South Kensington, London. She was home schooled. An eager student of languages and literature, she grew up loving classic folk and fairy tales, rhymes and riddles. Her talent for drawing and painting was discovered at an early age and encouraged. She drew her own versions of stories such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Beatrix and her brother, kept many animals in their schoolroom, from mice to birds and lizards to snakes. Their pets were often subjects for Beatrix’s sketches and paintings, and were later to inspire the much-loved characters in her books.
In 1893, Beatrix wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit and in 1902, this book was published by Frederick Warne & Co. In 1902, she wrote The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester. Beatrix had always loved the Lake District since her childhood. With money she was earning from her Peter Rabbit books she was able to buy Hill Top Farm in the village of Sawrey. In 1913 she married William Heelis and settled permantely in the Lake District.
Beatrix Potter used Hill Top Farm as the backdrop for several of her tales. The first was The Tale of Tom Kitten, which she wrote in 1906. She included favourite views of her new home in The Tales of Jemima Puddle-duck and The Tale of Samuel Whiskers.
Beatrix died on the 22nd December 1943. Her books are loved today by all generations and her legacy remains in her art work and her books.
In 2006 a movie about Beatrix’s relationship with Norman Warne, which developed while they worked together on the publication of the first few Peter Rabbit books, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor was released. Many of her characters have been produced into figurines by Beswick and Royal Albert.