Beatrix Potter

Chronology of Beatrix Potter's Life


  • 1866

    July 28 Helen Beatrix Potter born in 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London, first child of Helen and Rupert Potter.

  • 1871

    Beatrix spends first summer holiday at Dalguise House, Dunkeld, Scotland, her summer home for the next 11 years and her first experience in nature on her own.

  • 1872

    brother Walter Bertram born.

  • Beatrix and Spot
    Beatrix and Spot
  • 1881

    first entry at age 15 in her Journal in a code devised by her, a simple letter for letter substitution which was 'cracked' by Leslie Linder in 1958.

  • 1882

    The Potter family's first Lake District holiday at Wray Castle in the Lake District. Beatrix meets Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the three founders of the National Trust.

  • 1883

    Annie Carter(age 19) engaged as governess and companion for 16yr old Beatrix, to teach German. Death of Edmund Potter, Beatrix's artistic, entrepreneurial and very wealthy paternal grandfather.

  • 1885

    Carter leaves to marry Edwin Moore , Noel Moore, the first child of 6 children, is born two years later. Beatrix acquires a rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer.

  • 1886

    first recorded microscopic watercolour -- gnat's leg.

  • Beatrix and Revd. William Gaskell
    Beatrix and William Gaskell
  • 1887

    Beatrix develops serious rheumatic fever affecting her heart. She paints her first known fungus.

  • 1889

    Benjamin Bouncer models for Potter family Christmas cards.

  • 1890

    Beatrix sells first drawings to Hildesheimer & Faulkner of London, used as greeting cards and illustrations to book of rhymes, A Happy Pair by Frederic E. Weatherly.

  • 1891

    death of Jessy Potter, Beatrix's adored grandmother. Beatrix sketches for cards or booklets which were rejected by Frederick Warne & Co.

  • 1892

    Oct Beatrix meets Charlie McIntosh, the Perthshire naturalist in Birnam, Scotland and discusses her fungi and mosses. They establish a collaboration: exchange of material for paintings. She becomes preoccupied with painting of fungi.

  • 1893

    Sept 3 At Eastwood, Dunkeld, Scotland, Beatrix finds and paints the rare fungus `Old Man of the Woods.'

    Sept 4 Beatrix sends five year old Noel Moore a story about her pet rabbit, Peter.

    Sept 5 Beatrix sends four year old Eric Moore a picture letter about "a frog called Mr. Jeremy Fisher."

  • Beatrix Potter: Fungus illustration
  • 1894

    Beatrix independently visits her cousin, Caroline Hutton near Gloucestershire

    Draws the important botanical fossil Pitus.

    Learns six complete plays by Shakespeare by hear.

    Draws Roman objects to scale from a relics collection in London

    McIntosh suggests she include half-step drawings of fungi to make them more botanically accurate.

  • 1895

    Nister publishes Beatrix's drawings "A Frog he would a-fishing go"

    Beatrix accepts commission from Caroline Martineau to draw 12 lithographs of insects for Morely College for Men. Only two survive. Unknown if other 10 were finished.

  • 1896

    May, Beatrix goes to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with her uncle Sir Henry Roscoe to show her fungus drawings to Director Wm. Thistleton-Dyer.

    July - Oct Beatrix and family spend summer holiday in Near Sawrey, "Its is as nearly perfect a little place as I have ever lived in."

    Dec. working on fungus reproduction .

  • 1897

    Paper presented to Linnean Society "On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae" by Kew scientist Wm. Massee Beatrix withdraws it to do further work. She is 31.

  • 1901

    Jan Peter Rabbit dies.

    Sept. Frederick Warne & Co show interest in `The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor's Garden,' but reject rhyming text by Rawnsley. Beatrix refuses to add colour to her illustrations.

    Sept writes the story of Squirrel Nutkin in picture letter to Norah Moore

    Dec.16 Beatrix publishes 250 copies of the Tale of Peter Rabbit, privately. With b/w drawings and coloured frontispiece.

  • 1902

    Frederick Warne publishes 8000 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, shortened and illustrated in full colour

    Nov. Bertram Potter secretly married in Edinburgh

    Dec. Beatrix privately publishes 500 copies of The Tailor of Gloucester

  • Peter Rabbit Patent
    Peter Rabbit Patent
  • 1903

    Aug. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin published by Warne., Oct. shorter version of Tailor of Gloucester published by Warne

    Dec Beatrix registers her Peter Rabbit doll at the Patent Office.

  • 1904

    The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Two Bad Mice, published by Warne. Develops board game of Peter Rabbit with rules.

  • 1905

    July 25 Beatrix receives and accepts proposal of marriage from her editor Norman Warne against her parent's objections. She is 39.

    July Beatrix leaves for holiday in Wales

    Aug 25. Norman Warne dies of leukaemia, age 37

    `Peter Rabbit' wallpaper goes on sale

    Sept The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle published

    Oct. The Pie and the Patty-Pan published

    Nov. Beatrix officially buys Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey

  • 1906

    July The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher published by Warne

    Sept Beatrix starts to breed Herdwick Sheep at Hill Top Farm

  • 1907

    The Tale of Tom Kitten published.

  • 1908

    publication of The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.

  • 1909

    Beatrix buys second farm in Near Sawrey, Castle Farm

    two more tales published :The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, & The Tale of Ginger and Pickles

  • Beatrix and William Heelis
    Beatrix and William Heelis
  • 1910

    Beatrix registers Jemima Puddle-Duck doll at Patent Office.

  • 1911

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes and Peter Rabbit's Painting Book published by Warne

  • 1912

    The Tale of Mr. Todd is published.

    Beatrix campaigns against hydroplanes on Windermere

    at the end of year, Beatrix accepts proposal of marriage from William Heelis, a Lake District solicitor.

  • 1913 Oct.

    marries Heelis in London take Castle Cottage as their home, keeping Hill Top Farm as a place for Beatrix to work.

    Warne publishes The Tale of Piggling Bland

  • Beatrix and Kep
    Beatrix and Kep
    (courtesy National Trust)
  • 1914

    Beatrix's father dies.

    WWI begins

  • 1916

    BP employs a woman, Louie Choyce to help her with the farm and garden.

    Two more stories published

  • 1917

    Harold Warne arrested for embezzlement in London,

    Beatrix helps to save company with a new book, Appley Dappley's Book of Rhymes which she began in 1902.

    Bertram Potter dies of stroke in Scotland

    Tale of Johnny Town Mouse published

  • 1919

    new Warne firm incorporated, presses BP for new book

    Beatrix establishes District Nursing trust in Sawrey area

  • 1920

    Hardwicke Rawnsley dies

  • 1921

    Anne Carroll Moore, American superintendent of Children's Work, New York public Library visits Sawrey and encourages Beatrix to write another book. Begins a stream of American visitors to Near Sawrey.

    Dec. Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes published

  • 1923

    Beatrix buys Troutbeck Park Farm, 1900 acre sheep farm

  • 1925

    Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book published.

  • 1926

    The Roly-Poly Pudding changed to The Tale of Samuel Whiskers

    Beatrix employs shepherd Tom Storey at Troutbeck Park

    Nov. Storey moves to Hill Top to manage farm and breed sheep.

    May, sells 50 drawings through The Horn Book Magazine, Book Shop for Girls and Boys in Boston to raise money to save shoreline of Windermere from development.

    Visit from Henry P. Coolidge from Boston, The Fairy Caravan would be dedicated to him.

  • 1928

    Warne publishes Peter Rabbit's Almanac for 1929

  • 1929

    David McKay in Philadelphia publishes The Fairy Caravan US only until 1930

  • 1930

    63 yr old Beatrix buys 5000 acre Monk Coniston on condition that National Trust will take over half when they raise the money

    wins silver challenge cup for best Lake District Herdwick ewe.

    Sept. The Tale of Little Pig Robinson published by McKay

    Oct. Trust bought half Monk Coniston, but ask Beatrix to manage entire estate

  • 1932

    McKay publishes grisly version of Bluebeard, called Sister Anne, in US only Helen Potter, Beatrix's mother dies at 93

  • 1936

    Walt Disney offers to make film of Peter Rabbit, BP refuses

  • 1937

    Beatrix hands over management of half of Monk Consiton to National Trust agent Bruce Thompson

  • 1938

    Beatrix has surgery in Liverpool

  • Beatrix Potter
    Beatrix Potter
  • 1939

    Beatrix dictates her will before second surgery

    England and France declare War on Germany

  • 1941

    Beatrix supervises farm work during war, whole edition of Peter Rabbit lost in bombing of London.

  • 1943

    Beatrix elected President of Herdwick Sheep Breeders' Assoc. to begin March 1944. She would have been first woman president of Association.

    Aug. agrees to publication of "Wag-By Wall" in Christmas edition of The Horn Book. Published posthumously.

    Dec 22

    Beatrix Potter Heelis dies at 77 at Castle Cottage, cremated at Blackpool, and ashes scattered on her land by husband and Tom Storey

  • 1945

    William Heelies dies. Joint Heelis property, over 4000 acres with 17 farms, 8 cottages all bequeathed to National Trust

* Chronology by Linda Lear, adapted from Judy Taylor's in Beatrix Potter Artist & Illustrator, paintings and drawings selected by Anne Stevenson Hobbs (London: Frederick Warne & Co., 2005)



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