Beatrix Potter wrote her first stories in the form of picture letters purely for her own pleasure and the entertainment of children in her acquaintance. Years later she borrowed the letters back and published them in revised and enlarged versions now acclaimed as classics of children’s literature. This exhibition brings together twenty picture letters, including the earliest surviving picture letter, the famous Peter Rabbit letter, and others containing the original ideas for the adventures of Squirrel Nutkin, Jeremy Fisher, and Pig Robinson.
Also on display will be early commercial designs, nature studies, and fanciful animal drawings showing the development of her artistic skills and the first stirrings of her story-telling sensibilities. Other objects in the exhibition speak to Potter’s fiercely independent business methods and her resolute attempts to sustain high standards in her published work. She had her first books privately printed at her expense, she stoutly defended her rights to her artistic creations, and she personally oversaw the design of toys and games based on her bestselling books, a model for merchandising ventures even now.
This exhibition is underwritten by Barbara and James Runde, and by Susan and Peter Solomon and Peter J. Solomon Company, L. P.
Major funding is provided by Barbara Hanson Pierce, Michael Francis Hanson, and Robert Hixon Hanson in memory of their mother, Margaret Hixon Hanson.
Further generous support is provided by The Caroline Macomber Fund, Rudy and Sara Ruggles, Justin G. Schiller, Ltd., and The Frelinghuysen Foundation.
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