The images below are from The Beatrix Potter Society’s collection of glass negatives taken by Rupert Potter, Beatrix’s father. They are all published by the Society in A Beatrix Potter Photograph Album.
‘A little girl in a print frock and striped stockings’ is how Beatrix Potter recalls her younger self in her Journal for 14 June 1884. She may just have been remembering the past, but equally she may have had an actual photograph in mind. Certainly she knew of the early photographs of herself and her family, and carefully preserved them in her later years. Rupert Potter, Beatrix’s father, was a very keen amateur photographer from the early years of the art. The most obvious subjects for Rupert Potter’s camera were his family and friends, and in particular his little daughter, of whom he was very fond.
When The Beatrix Potter Society came to consider how best to commemorate the fiftieth year since Beatrix Potter’s death in December 1943, a selection from the Rupert Potter photographs, taken before her years of fame, seemed the most appropriate form for this commemoration to take. The glass negatives themselves had come to the Society from the collection of the late Leslie Linder. Many of these photographs appeared in print for the first time in the resulting publication A Beatrix Potter Photograph Album. No documentation accompanied the plates, and the identity of several of the sitters and, indeed, the dates and locations are unsure.