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15 August 2012

Hero - Beatrix Potter


My hero this month is Beatrix Potter, I really don't know how she hasn't come up sooner in this series because she is such a favourite of mine. (Image: Beatrix Potter by Delma Banner 1938, National Portrait Gallery www.npg.org.uk)

I grew up on Beatrix Potter, like all children did (seriously if you don't have Beatrix Potter books when you are a child there is something wrong!) but my fascination with her stories and illustrations didn't stop at childhood. The more I learn about her, the more and more I admire this great woman.


Beatrix Potter's stories always felt like mine, they were inspired by and written in the Lake District part of the county of Cumbria which I call home.  I know the places that she writes about and being aware as a child that these little tales were written so close by made them so much more precious to me. (Image: www.peterrabbit.com)


I remember this TV show distinctly when we were young, this series really brought the books alive for us and I love the acted intro and then the stories illustrated by Beatrix's original drawings. Oh please bring this TV show back!

So what makes Beatrix so great and worthy of hero status?  Where do I start??? There are so many reasons, but firstly I guess it has to be her stories, they are timeless, they still captivate the imagination of children the world over today and I can't see her popularity diminishing anytime soon.  Then her illustrations of course, her books are so amazing because she not only writes beautiful stories but she illustrates them too.  My favourite type of artwork is illustration and her drawings are so pretty and really appeal to me.


The V&A in London holds the largest public collection of Beatrix Potter original drawings. You can see some of the collection on their website, and I have 'borrowed' this image above from there. http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/b/beatrix-potter/

I suppose what makes Beatrix Potter so extra special for me is her love of the Lake District, she is not Cumbrian born, but annual family holidays to the county made a huge impression on her (how can our fine county fail to do so with anybody?) and she fell in love with the landscape so much so that as soon as she could she packed up and moved here and remained until her death at the age of 77.  Cumbria has very much claimed Beatrix as our own and it is here that you can visit her actual house, Hilltop and visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery, once the offices of her husband's law firm.  A lot of what we see and love about the Lakes today is down to Beatrix, she not only made it her home but she was fiercely protective over the landscape and way of life.  She used the proceeds of her many books to buy up farms to preserve the land from development.  She was instrumental in the founding and establishment of the National Trust and she left her entire estate to the organisation on her death so they could continue her hard work in preserving traditional Lakeland and country life. Wow, such an inspiration!


If you want to know more then do read Linda Lear's biography on Beatrix, it really is excellent.  Also check out the movie Miss Potter, of course I love it, anything to do with Beatrix Potter is going to get my attention.  The movie was filmed on location in the Lakes so of course the scenery is breathtaking and I thought Rene Zellweger was excellent in it.  It is worth noting that Rene raved about how amazing the Lake District was after spending time working on the movie here and there was talk of her buying a house! (or so our local paper would have us believe).


Animal and nature lover, lake District resident, illustrator, great story teller, feminist, independent, business woman, conservationist, Herdwick sheep farmer, romantic and so much more... Beatrix Potter holds a very worthy place in my heroes list.

11 comments:

  1. I love Beatrix Potter! When I was a child I had a duvet with the entire story of Peter Rabbit written on the underside...it was great :)

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    1. My sister and I had Beatrix duvet covers too! I don't think they had the story on though, just pictures, these sound fab. Thanks so much for commenting. x

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  2. Fantastic post! As you can probably tell she is my heroine too (even my dog is called Beatrix!) - as a child I adored her stories and illustrations, and like you this has expanded over the years into an appreciation of her conservation work, and her contributions to the study of the natural world, despite her facing prejudice for being female. I agree, I don't think her popularity will ever fade; if anything her work is more popular than ever now, and I'm so pleased to have met so many other young female BP fans since I started blogging. I reckon we should start a campaign to bring the tv series back! x

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    1. So glad Anna tweeted your post!! I adore Beatrix Potter also, obsessed wouldn't be an exaggeration!! We really ought to start some sort of Potter club as she is so popular amongst us bloggers!

      xx

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    2. Just click on www.beatrixpottersociety.org.uk

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    3. Thanks so much for the comment Anna, I was actually meaning to contact you about this post, thought you might like it!

      Imogen, totally! You should start the club, count me in, thanks for the comment! x

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  3. I LOVED Beatrix Potter, i remember my favourite story before bed used to be Squirrel Nutkin :) xxxx

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    1. Yeah, another Beatrix fan, I think all us Cumbrian kids especially were all Beatrix fans as kids. Thanks for the comment. x

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  4. I loved reading this post. :D She is also one of my heroes & I loved that old TV show as well! I still have the soundtrack to it on cassette. I remember listening to that Miriam Stockley song over and over. It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Lake District too. It's such a beautiful part of the UK.

    Have a lovely day! x

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    1. Hi Deborah, thanks so much for the lovely comment. That's so funny you have the soundtrack! Listening to that song did bring back loads of memories, it's so lovely. x

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  5. First time here...u have nice space and really inspirational stuff... I'll be back soon.


    peter rabbit

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Thank you so much for your comment, I read each and every one, and they mean a lot to me. I do always try my best to reply.

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