The Beatrix Potter Society successfully buys at auction, three significant letters written by Beatrix Potter
The letters written by Beatrix Heelis (nee Potter) reveal how she wanted to make a difference to the everyday lives of the locals by organising a District Nursing service for Hawkshead.
The Beatrix Potter Society have successfully purchased at auction, three hand written signed letters by Beatrix Potter, signed H.B. Heelis, dated 1937 – 43. All the letters are previously unknown, having been passed down through the recipients family until now.
Two of the letters shed an interesting light on ‘Mrs Heelis’ (nee Potter) in the community and add further to the Society’s knowledge of her involvement in the local District Nursing arrangements.
The letter dated 1943 shows Beatrix’s reflections on the rationing of petrol during WWII and her thoughts on essential journeys for nurses as opposed to unreasonable daily journeys to school by local children in taxis.
Festive Gathering 2020 Quiz
Save the date!
The Festive Gathering was planned for Saturday, November 21, 2020
at The Sloane Club, London is now cancelled as The Sloane Club is still closed. Liz Adams has kindly agreed to organise a Festive Quiz and get-together on Zoom to take place on Saturday November 21st.
A Festive Zoom meeting at a mutually compatible time for those in Australia and other compatible time zones with a separate running of the Festive quiz will be organised by Lynne Moriarty.
40th Anniversary of The Beatrix Potter Society AGM and Day Out CANCELLED for 2020
It is with regret that due to the continued uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic, The Society has decided that our postponement of the weekend AGM, Linder Lecture and 40th Anniversary Celebrations of the 8 – 9th August, is now CANCELLED.
However, we are delighted to confirm that a similar event is proposed to take place in Ambleside at the University of Cumbria Campus and we are in talks with The University who have confirmed that they anticipate they will be able to accommodate us in March 2021 subject, of course, to their own restrictions which may prevail at the time.
The date The Society is proposing is the 6 – 9th March and we are awaiting confirmation from The University that these dates are available although they appear to be flexible in this regard. So please do SAVE THESE DATES in your diaries.
We very much hope that this weekend will go ahead and further information will be available in forthcoming Journal & Newsletters, Pottering About and on this website.
A 40th Anniversary Celebration! Cancelled for 2020
Needle, Paintbrush & Trowel:
Texture in Beatrix Potter’s
Needlework, Tales, Garden – Cancelled!
Saturday August 22 2020
Due to Covid-19 this event has been cancelled for August 22 2020 and hopefully it will be rescheduled for August of 2021. We will keep everyone updated on the event.
A Day at the Victoria & Albert Museum
Our annual AGM and Linder Lecture was held at the V&A. We were thrilled to have our Patron, Dame Patricia Routledge, D.B.E. attend. Annemarie Bilclough, Frederick Warne Curator of Illustration for the V&A presented the Linder Lecture and had many original Beatrix Potter illustrations for us to view.
If you would like to see the Linder Lecture and more interviews go to the Member’s Page. If you are not yet a member join now for access to the member’s section where you will find videos of last years conference, AGM 2019 with the Linder Lecture and interviews with members and some of our committee.
Here is an overview of the day.
BEATRIX POTTER A Lasting Legacy
Beatrix Potter Studies XVII Is Now Available
The Seventeenth Beatrix Potter Society International Conference coincided with the 150th anniversary of Beatrix’s birth and celebrated her legacy. This new addition to the Studies series publishes the talks given at that Conference.
The Beatrix Potter Society Committee
Pictured from front, row left to right: Sue Smith; Helen Duder, Registrar of Objects and Archivist; Miranda Gore Browne, Chair of the BPS, Angela Rijks-Bettink, Social Media; Kathy Cole, Secretary.
Back row left to right Jenny Lyon, Journal and Newsletter Editor, Janet Sullivan, \’Pottering About\’ editor and Andrew Wiltshire, Treasurer, Sales Liaison and Data Protection Officer.
Not pictured: Angela Black, Meetings Secretary; Betsy Bray, Website Manager; Donna S. Priesmeyer, Publications Chair, Robyn Watts and Liz Adams, Membership Secretary.
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Roslind Moscrop’s Recent Bequest to The Beatrix Potter Society
The bequest has the inscribed copy of The Fairy Caravan: ‘For Joe Moscrop in remembrance of Troutbeck Park and the sheep. With kind regards from the author Beatrix Heelis. May 30th 1930’.
In 1929, The Fairy Caravan was published only in America, but a hundred copies were produced in the UK for copyright purposes and Beatrix distributed them to her friends and – in particular – to local farmers and shepherds.
Joe Moscrop’s copy is number 29; it also contains the frontispiece (the sketches for which are shown on the cover of the October J&N) about which Beatrix wrote: ‘This drawing and several others are not in the American edition. The first chapter was reprinted at Ambleside, for “copyrighting” purposes.’ This along with other correspondence is deposited with the National Trust in the Lake District.
Jemima Puddle-duck doll and two first edition little books
The Society is the proud owner of a charming but very old Jemima Puddle-duck doll and two first edition little books – The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher – and all are on long loan at the V&A . These were a generous donation from Member, Christine Hacklett, and were given to her family by Beatrix Potter herself. Christine’s great-aunt was Nurse Ellen Bond, who helped to care for Beatrix’s first governess, Miss Hammond, in her old age and the two women became friends. Jemima is now on long loan at the V&A, where you can make an appointment to see it by contacting Emma Laws (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lizzie Jacklin (email@example.com).
The copy of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher is inscribed ‘to Ellen J Bond from Beatrix Potter Oct 4th 1906 Sawrey Ambleside’, and the Jemima is one of the original dolls registered in 1910 and produced by a company called Farnell to Beatrix’s own design. In the same year she wrote to another little girl, ‘… I should like to send “Jemima” because I have taken a great deal of interest in getting her made. She is being made in hundreds at a toy factory at Acton Hill.’
Several other Jemima dolls have survived – among them one at Melford Hall (given to the Hyde Parker children by Beatrix) and another (which originally belonged to Tom Storey’s daughter, Freda) in the Beatrix Potter Collection of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University. (See the ‘Places to Visit’ page of this website for more about Melford Hall and the Cotsen Collection. You can also read more about the Society’s acquisition in the January 2017 Journal and Newsletter, which featured Jemima on its cover.)
The background letter on the website
Visitors to The Beatrix Potter Society website might be intrigued by the background letter on each page. It is one of a group of eight letters – seven from Beatrix Heelis and one from William Heelis – written to George Walker, the manager of Troutbeck Park Farm from 1930 to 1945. They were bought by the Society at a Sotheby’s auction in May 1998 and are currently on long-loan to the V&A.(see above for making an appointment to view them)
Most of the letters, like this one written in 1942, relate to day-to-day farming matters – sale prices for cattle and sheep, wages for the men and the weather – but the collection also includes Beatrix’s initial approach to George Walker asking him to come and work for her. Her last letter to him was written on 20 November 1943, a few weeks before her death, and she says, ‘Don’t know when I will come, the wind makes me cough.’ Willie Heelis’s letter is also written a few weeks before his death – from a nursing home in York on 27 May 1945 – and encloses a cheque for the wages and enquires about the farm.
George Walker himself features several times in the letters written to Beatrix’s lambing shepherd, Joseph Moscrop, between 1926 and 1943 and published by the Society in 1998 as Beatrix Potter’s Farming Friendship.