Helen Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children's books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.
Born into a privileged Unitarian family, Potter, along with her younger brother, Walter Bertram (1872-1918), grew up with few friends outside her large extended family.
Her parents were artistic, interested in nature and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly.
Summer holidays were spent in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.
Although she was provided with private art lessons, Potter preferred to develop her own style, particularly favouring watercolour.
Along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined, she illustrated insects, fossils, archeological artefacts, and fungi.
In the 1890s her mycological illustrations and research on the reproduction of fungi spores generated interest from the scientific establishment.
Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit publishing it first privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-colour illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co.
Potter published over twenty-three books; the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922.
She died on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust.
She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.
Potter's books continue to sell throughout the world, in multiple languages.
Her stories have been retold in song, film, ballet and animation.
F Warne & Co