Helen Beatrix Potter born at 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London, first child of Helen and Rupert Potter.
Potter family holiday at Dalguise House, Dunkeld, Scotland, their ‘summer home’ for the next eleven years.
Walter Bertram Potter, Beatrix’s brother, born at 2 Bolton Gardens.
Earliest example of Beatrix’ s drawing, a sketchbook at age nine, of birds, butterflies and caterpillars (Victoria & Albert Museum, London).
Art Student’s Certificate, Science and Art Department, South Kensington Museum, awarded to Helen Beatrix Potter for model drawing and freehand. ‘Excellent’ in both.
First entry in fifteen year-old Beatrix’s Journal in a code devised by her; simple letter-for-letter substitution, not ‘cracked’ until 1958.
Art Student’s Certificate for practical geometry and perspective. Again ‘excellent’ in both categories.
Potter family’s first Lake District holiday, at Wray Castle. Beatrix meets Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the three founders of the National Trust.
Miss Annie Carter, aged nineteen, appointed as new governess and German teacher for sixteen-year-old Beatrix.
Eleven-year-old Bertram sent away to boarding school.
Earliest known example of Beatrix’s drawing of bats (Victoria & Albert Museum). She was seventeen.
Annie Carter leaves the Potter household to marry Edwin Moore. Beatrix acquires her first rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer.
Beatrix’s first recorded microscope watercolour – study of gnat’s leg (Victoria & Albert Museum).
Beatrix has serious rheumatic fever affecting her heart.
Beatrix’s earliest recorded fungus drawing, Verdigris Toadstool (Stropharia aeruginosa) (Armitt).
Birth of Moores’ first child, Noel Christian.
Benjamin Bouncer models for the Potter family Christmas cards.
Beatrix sells first drawings to Hildesheimer & Faulkner, London. Used as greetings cards and as illustrations to a book of rhymes, A Happy Pair by Frederic E. Weatherly.
Potters sell Camfield Place, the ‘much loved’ country house where Beatrix’s paternal grandparents had lived since 1866.
Beatrix’s sketches rejected by Frederick Warne.
On holiday (since July 26) with her family in Birnam, Scotland, Beatrix meets Charles McIntosh, ‘The Perthshire Naturalist’, to discuss her paintings of fungi and mosses. He promises to send specimens of fungi to London for her to paint.
The publishers, Ernest Nister, buy some of Beatrix’s drawings to use as illustrations in their children’s annuals.
On holiday with her family at Eastwood, Dunkeld, Scotland, Beatrix paints the rare fungus Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus) (Armitt and Perth Museums).
From Eastwood, Dunkeld, Beatrix sends five-year-old Noel Moore a story about her pet rabbit, Peter.
Beatrix sends four-year-old Eric Moore a picture letter about a ‘frog called Mr. Jeremy Fisher’.
Charles McIntosh suggests Beatrix includes technical points in her fungus paintings ‘to make them more perfect as botanical drawings’.
Beatrix visits her cousin, Caroline Hutton, at Harescombe Grange, near Stroud, in Gloucestershire, noting, ‘I had not been away independently for five years.’
July 17 –
During the family holiday in Lennel, Scotland, Beatrix discovers (and draws) the important botanical fossil Araucarioxylon, now Pitus.
Beatrix records in her Journal that ‘more or less in a year’ she had learned by heart six complete plays by Shakespeare.
Beatrix draws to scale a collection of Roman objects found in the City of London 1872-73.
Ernest Nister publish Beatrix’s drawings ‘A Frog he would a Fishing Go’ in Nister’s Holiday Annual for 1896 and in Comical Customers at the New Stores of Comical Rhymes and Stories.
Caroline Martineau commissions Beatrix to prepare twelve lithographed plates of insects. Only the Sheet Web Spider and the Privet Hawk Moth survive. It is not known if the remaining ten were ever finished.
Beatrix goes to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with her uncle, Sir Henry Roscoe, to show her fungus drawings to Director W. Thiselton-Dyer.
July 15 – October 6
The Potters holiday in Near Sawrey in the Lake District, Beatrix commenting, ‘It is as nearly perfect a little place as I ever lived in.’
Beatrix delivers Paper on germination of fungus spores to Thiselton-Dyer and is rejected.
Final entry in Journal notes Beatrix is hard at work revising her Paper, ‘On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae‘.
Paper by thirty year-old Helen B. Potter presented to The Linnean Society of London by George Massee from Kew, women not being allowed to attend Society meetings.
Peter Rabbit dies. Beatrix later wrote, ‘Whatever the limitations of his intellect or outward shortcomings of his fur, and his ears and toes, his disposition was uniformly amiable and his temper unfailingly sweet. An affectionate companion and a quiet friend.’
Frederick Warne show interest in The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Mr McGregor’s Garden by Beatrix Potter but reject rhyming text by Hardwicke Rawnsley. Beatrix refuses to colour her black-and-white illustrations.
Beatrix tells story of Squirrel Nutkin in picture letter to eight-year-old Norah Moore.
Beatrix Potter publishes The Tale of Peter Rabbit privately in an edition of 250 copies, with black-and-white illustrations and a coloured frontispiece.
Beatrix reprints 200 copies of her edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix plans a book of rhymes called Appley Dapply, an abridged edition of which would not be published until 1917.
Frederick Warne publish 8,000 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, shortened and illustrated in full colour throughout.
Bertram Potter secretly marries Mary Welsh Scott in Edinburgh.
Beatrix privately publishes 500 copies of The Tailor of Gloucester.
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is published by Frederick Warne.
A shorter version of The Tailor of Gloucester is published by Warne.
November 26 – December 3
Beatrix, on holiday in Hastings, writes The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Tuppenny, and The Pie and The Patty-Pan.
Beatrix registers her Peter Rabbit doll at the Patent Office.
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Two Bad Mice are published by Warne.
Beatrix sends Warne the plan and rules for a game she has devised called The Game of Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix receives a proposal of marriage by letter from Norman Warne, her editor at Frederick Warne. Against her parents’ wishes, thirty-nine-year-old Beatrix accepts.
Norman Warne dies of leukaemia at the age of thirty-seven.
Peter Rabbit wallpaper goes on sale.
The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is published by Warne.
The Pie and The Patty-Pan is published by Warne, first of the series in a larger format and the first with black-and-white illustrations as well as colour plates.
Beatrix buys Hill Top, a working farm in the village of Near Sawrey in the Lake District.
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher is published by Warne in the original little book format.
Beatrix starts to breed Herdwick sheep at Hill Top Farm.
The Story of Miss Moppet and The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit are published in panoramic format by Warne.
Beatrix visits Hill Top Farm whenever she can get away from London. At the farm she now has cows, ducks, hens and pigs, as well as sheep.
The Tale of Tom Kitten is published by Warne.
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck is published by Warne.
The Roly-Poly Pudding is published by Warne in the larger format.
Beatrix buys a second farm in Near Sawrey called Castle Farm.
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, a sequel to Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, is published by Warne.
Ginger and Pickles is published by Warne in the larger format.
Beatrix registers a Jemima Puddle-duck doll at the Patent Office.
The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse is published by Warne.
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes and Peter Rabbit’s Painting Book are published by Warne.
The Tale of Mr. Tod is published by Warne, advertised as ‘The Peter Rabbit Books, Series II, New Style’.
Beatrix successfully campaigns against hydroplanes on Windermere.
End of year
Forty-six-year-old Beatrix accepts proposal of marriage from Lake District solicitor, William Heelis.
The Tale of Pigling Bland is published by Warne.
Beatrix Potter and William Heelis marry at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, London. Choose Castle Cottage as home, keeping Hill Top as a place for Beatrix to work.
Beatrix’s father, Rupert Potter, dies in London, aged eighty-two.
Britain declares war on Germany. Beatrix manages the farms, feeding the calves, pigs and poultry.
Eleanor (Louie) Choyce, aged forty, is employed by Beatrix to help with the farm and garden.
The Story of Miss Moppet and The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit are issued by Warne in little book format.
Harold Warne is sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment for forgeries.
Frederick Warne, in serious financial trouble, ask Beatrix for a new book.
Warne publish Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes, the collection of rhymes begun in 1902.
Peter Rabbit handkerchiefs go on sale.
Bertram Potter dies at home in Scotland, of a cerebral haemorrhage, aged forty-six.
Armistice signed between the Allies and Germany, marking the end of the First World War.
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse is published by Warne.
The new firm, Frederick Warne & Company Limited, is registered in London.
Beatrix’s mother, eighty-year-old Helen Potter, buys Lindeth How, Windermere.
Beatrix helps to set up a Nursing Trust for the villages of Sawrey, Hawkshead and Wray. She buys a house and car for the nurse.
Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley dies, aged sixty-nine.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny are published in French by Warne, as Pierre Lapin and Jeannot Lapin.
Six of the little books are published in Braille by The Royal Institute for the Blind.
Anne Carroll Moore, Superintendent of Children’s Work, New York Public Library, visits Beatrix and encourages her to write a new book.
Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes is published by Warne.
Beatrix buys Troutbeck Park Farm, 1,900 acre sheep farm.
The Potter family home in London, 2 Bolton Gardens, is sold.
Jemima Puddle-duck’s Painting Book is published by Warne.
The title of The Roly-Poly Pudding is changed to The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and reprinted in little book format. The title is not changed in USA until 1980s.
Beatrix employs shepherd Tom Storey at Troutbeck Park Farm.
Tom Storey moves from Troutbeck Park to Hill Top Farm.
Beatrix sells fifty redrawn Peter Rabbit illustrations through The Horn Book Magazine, Boston, for the National Trust to save the Windermere lake frontage from developers.
Thirteen-year-old Henry P. Coolidge from Boston visits Beatrix. The Fairy Caravan would be dedicated to him.
Warne publish Peter Rabbit’s Almanac for 1929.
David McKay, Philadelphia, publish The Fairy Caravan. It is not published in the UK until July 1952.
Sixty-three-year-old Beatrix buys 5,000-acre Monk Coniston Estate on condition that National Trust will take over half when money raised.
Beatrix wins silver challenge cup for best Lake District Herdwick ewe.
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is published by Frederick Warne and David McKay. USA edition has more illustrations.
Half Monk Coniston Estate bought by National Trust from Beatrix, who agrees to continue management of entire estate.
Beatrix starts new book, intended as sequel to The Fairy Caravan.
David McKay publish Sister Anne, ‘an absurd and grisly version of Bluebeard”, illustrated by Katharine Sturges. Never issued in the UK.
Helen Potter dies aged ninety-three.
Approaching seventy, Beatrix acquires first Pekinese dog, Tzusee.
Walt Disney’s request to make film of Peter Rabbit refused by Beatrix. ‘To enlarge … will show up all the imperfections’.
Beatrix buys second Pekinese puppy, Chuleh.
Noel Moore, ‘a middle aged active man, a clergyman in Kent’, visits Beatrix at Hill Top.
Beatrix hands over management of National Trust half of Monk Coniston Estate to their first Lake District Land Agent, Bruce Thompson.
Beatrix agrees to Braille edition of The Fairy Caravan in USA.
Beatrix has operation in the Women’s Hospital, Liverpool.
In hospital again, Beatrix dictates her Will and asks close friends to look after her husband ‘if I don’t return’.
Beatrix returns to Castle Cottage to convalesce.
Watches sheep shearing and cattle herding at Troutbeck Park Farm.
Britain and France declare war on Germany.
Beatrix and William buy pony cart to help stretch petrol ration. Beatrix supervises farm work and breeds rabbits to supplement meat ration. Willie serves on War Agricultural Committee and as reserve policeman.
Whole edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit lost in bombing raid on London.
Warne send Beatrix original The Tale of Peter Rabbit drawings for safekeeping.
Louie Choyce returns to Hill Top to help on the farm.
Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Britain and USA declare war on Japan.
Beatrix receives first food parcel from friends in USA.
At AGM of Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association Beatrix is elected President from March 1944. She would have been the first woman President of the Association.
Beatrix agrees to publication of Wag-by-Wall (story originally intended for The Fairy Caravan) in Christmas edition of The Horn Book Magazine, then agrees to postponement until May for Twentieth Anniversary Issue. She would not live to see publication.
Beatrix struck down by bronchitis and heart trouble.
Seventy-seven-year-old Beatrix Potter Heelis dies in the night at Castle Cottage, her husband by her side.
Cremated in Blackpool, Beatrix’s ashes are scattered by her shepherd and farm manager, Tom Storey, on her land in Near Sawrey.
William Heelis dies in Parey Crost Nursing Home, York. The joint Heelis properties, over 4,000 acres with seventeen farms and eight cottages, are bequeathed to the National Trust.
Text copyright Judy Taylor, 2011