Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Peter Rabbit and Friends................

 
via
Beatrix Potter was born into a family of wealth and privilege in South Kensington, London.  The Potter family's first Lake District holiday was at Wray Castle besides Lake Windermere - it was there that she fell in love with the area, celebrated her 16th birthday, and where she met Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the three founders of the National Trust.
Wray Castle
She wrote and illustrated her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, whilst still living at the family home in London. 
When the book was printed and sold by children's publisher Frederick Warne, it immediately became an enormous success. She was now a women of substantial independant means and decided to uproot herself from London and buy a farm in the Lake District. It was in her cottage at 'Hill Top' farm that the majority of Peter Rabbit's other friends were conceived.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of Potter's birth - 28th July 1866 - welcome to her farm 'Hill Top' in the beautiful English Lake District
Beatrix Potter's Lakeland cottage is very modest, it belies her wealth, but it was here that she spent so many happy days writing and illustrating her books.
 'There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you'
She was a major benefactor to the National Trust leaving them one of their most important legacies. Apart from the house and farm at Hill Top she left the Trust 4000 acres of Lakeland fells and moors, together with 14 farmsteads which set the scene for the strong conservation movement in the Lake District. Along with Beatrix Potter's legacy the National Trust also owns Wray Castle and 4.5 miles along the western shoreline of Lake Windermere given to them by Sir Noton and Lady Barclay. When the shoreline of Lake Windermere was in danger of development, Beatrix raised money to save it by offering autographed drawings of Peter Rabbit to the tourists.
 A letter from her publishers acknowledging receipt of her latest manuscript for the "Tailor of Gloucester" and securing American copyright of the text.
"When I lie in bed I can see a hill of green grass opposite the window.......there is a crooked pane of glass and when the sheep walk across it makes them look like this....
The rhubarb patch - I wonder if this could be a safe place for Jemima Puddleduck to lay her eggs?
As we set off back down the garden path we had the distinct feeling that we were not alone!
Beatrix Potter's large legacy was her gift to our nation for everyone to enjoy.

58 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place and a beautiful legacy.

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    1. Many of the illustrations in the books are recognisable as her garden, the cottage, and the village where she lived.

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  2. Fabulous. You did well with the photos - last time we were there it was heaving. And I love what you've done with the cartoon characters - very clever!

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    1. We made an early start and got into Hill Top first. Glad you liked the little characters Mike.

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  3. How enchanting Rosemary, I enjoyed this very much. You are a clever clogs, working all the little characters in. I was so happy to find my favourite, Jemima Puddleduck, looking splendid in the rhubarb patch. What an enjoyable place to visit. Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter.

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    1. Thanks Patricia - I can't believe that it is a week already since we were there, the time seems to be flying by at the moment.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,

    How wonderful that you got to go and visit Hill Top Farm and loved seeing your photos. The house and garden are gorgeous and like how you have placed all the sweet characters in the pictures. I have a journal of hers which has a lot of her letters she wrote and her beautiful illustrations - she was so very talented with her writing. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Tuesday
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. She also did lots of lovely nature studies of fungi, insects, and wild flowers too. She was very talented lady.

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  5. I love love love Hilltop! It is a magical place and wonderful to be able to spot the parts of the house and garden that Potter used in her illustrations for her little books. Did you know that the head office of the National Trust in Swindon is called Heelis after her? Heelis was her married name. I have many of her little books and other books about her, she was a fascinating and very important lady!

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    1. It is many years since I last visited, and like so many NT properties the parking and facilities are now so much better.

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  6. What a nice post, a magical place. Beatrix Potter is know here but she has never been that popular as in your country.

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  7. Marvellous Rosemary - all those years have passed and we still read her books.

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    1. So many children around the world have grown up having her books read to them - I wonder if she could ever have imagined that.

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  8. A beautiful tribute to Beatrix Potter Rosemary, I love the story and the pictures. We have not yet been to the Lake District, but when we go that way we certainly will visit Hill Top farm, we want to meet Peter Rabbit himself. Your photos are tantalizing.

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    1. You must visit the Lake District Janneke, but don't go in the school holiday periods.

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  9. Just the sort of place I'd like to live. Wonderful that she was able to preserve this beautiful area for the nation.

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  10. I think we all carry the childhood magic of Ms. Potter's characters with us forever. They are truly memorable and so exquisitely drawn and painted. Love how you've added them to the photos. Speaking of which, were you able to take the interior Hill Top shots Rosemary? When I was there a few years ago I was not permitted - but did get lovely pix of the exterior and the gardens. She did a wonderful thing buying the land and farms so they would be saved for posterity - and this makes me want to watch that delightful movie AGAIN!
    BTW - when I visited I really did see a real 'Peter Rabbit' nibbling in the vegetable garden - our group couldn't believe our luck, it was a dream come true!
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - the NT have allowed photography inside all their properties for about 6 years now as long as you don't use flash. Sometimes there are pieces of furniture or pictures that cannot be photographed because they are on loan from their owners apart from that all of their interiors can be shot.
      It has also made me want to see the movie again, and I suspect that it is likely to be shown on TV around her birthday.
      There is a very good programme, but I am not sure whether or not you can get. It is on Channel 4 with Patricia Routledge, who is patron of the Beatrix Potter Society. She reveals more about her, and shows rare artefacts, including a book recently discovered which is due to be published in September,illustrated by Quentin Blake and called Kitty in Boots

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  11. The only time I ever passed Hill Top, it was closed. Annoying! I have been reading A Shepherd's Life which shows how much the Herdwick sheep farmers still look up to Beatrix Potter. Interesting how her life developed, isn't it!

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    1. Have you seen the Beatrix Potter Channel 4 programme done by Patricia Routledge that I mentioned to Mary above? It is really interesting and talks about her work with the Herdwick sheep. You can see it online.

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  12. I would like to visit the inspirational places where Beatrix lived.How wonderful are her watercolours,drawings and tales! She preserved the landscape that had inspired her and her country must be proud of her and grateful.

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    1. We have much to be grateful to her for Olympia. She very nearly became a Scientist, she was very interested in fungi, but it was very hard to break into the scientific field if you were a women in the Victorian era.

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  13. I've loved the Beatrix Potter stories for a long time and my love for them increased after watching the movie Miss Potter. Visiting Hill Top would be the icing on the cake. Thank you for this glimpse into her world. Clever work with inserting the characters into your beautiful photos.

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    1. It is surprising that her tales retain as much appeal today for our children as they did in the Victorian era - I have never known a child or for that matter an adult who doesn't enjoy them.

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  14. A pleasure to see the beloved Potter characters in the garden. I had not known how significant BP's gift to the NT and, of course, us had been.

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    1. Yes, it really was a huge legacy and her foresight has definitely saved the Lake District from over development.

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  15. Hello Rosemary, Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm is the epitome of charm, and her personal support and donations to the preservation of that region are truly impressive.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Beatrix was very generous with her legacy, and it is lovely to know that it is all in safe hands for future generations to enjoy too.

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  16. Hello Rosemary

    I was unaware of Beatrix Potter's generosity. Her Lakeside Cottage is most inviting and like many I could live happily here. Thanks for taking us along on your tour.
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - the cottage is modest and cosy but with a lovely atmosphere. It is possible to sense that she was very happy and content there.

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  17. Hi Rosemary, unfortunately I didn't grow up with Peter the Rabbit books, but at least I discovered them as an adult. Just recently I bought the book as a gift for our friend's little girl.
    So nice to see her farm where she wrote and illustrated and also to get some more background information about her. I didn't know that she was that much involved with the National Trust and besides her own farm left it so much land for conservation. How farsighted and wonderful that gesture was!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. She was highly respected by the other Lakeland farmers as she became a real expert on rearing and breeding the local Herdwick sheep. Her generosity will continue to be a huge assest for future generations too.

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  18. Dear Rosemary, Growing up I was raised in a different country so I am not familiar with Beatrix Potter. I have, of course, heard of her and her books.
    Your photos and writings tell a lovely story. How wonderful that she bequeathed her property to the National Trust so that so many can enjoy her beautiful farm and buildings and lands.

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    1. Dear Gina - She was indeed a very generous women and her forsight has helped to conserve such a lovely area.

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  19. I remember visiting Hill Top and loved her home and garden an the originals of her painting that were on show so much better in real life - a very generous and talented lady.

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    1. I visited previously a long, long time ago - it was lovely to reaquaint myself with her home again during this celebratory year.

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  20. How I would love to have visited the Lake District while in England. Especially liked Beatrix Potter's cosy cottage and pretty gardens. It felt like I was visiting with you.
    I was not aware of her generous bequests. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Betty - glad that you enjoyed see Beatrix's home and garden.

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  21. Lovely post! I have such vivid memories of reading all her little story books to my sister when she was small. My sister loved Beatrix Potter's books!

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    1. Along with her character part of their charm was also the size of the books - just right for little people.

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  22. Hello Rosemary,
    I love Beatrix and her fantastic stories!
    Every time I look at his film I cry like a little girl,
    It was a great woman. One day for sure I will go to visit
    those magnificent places, is one of my dreams !!
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and a hug.
    Love Susy x

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    1. Hello Susy - it was a lovely film which I would like to see it again one day. Hope you manage to visit the Lake District on one of your trips over.

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  23. I don't tend to do the tourist haunts myself when down there so I enjoyed that visit by proxy. It does pack a huge amount into a small district with plenty to do and see, even if it rains. A very special place.

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    1. Yes, you are right - better in fine weather, but if it rains it rains, even so I still love it there.

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  24. It’s perfectly lovely of you, Rosemary, to have inserted the characters of Beatrix Potter stories into your fabulous photos. When I went to British Fair held at the Mt. Rokko, I met them at the Rose Walk or Cottage Garden. I didn’t know Peter Rabbit as a child but came to know in my teens, so late, but I shared the stories with my children since they were very young.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - it is lovely to think of you reading Peter Rabbit to your children and now hopefully your grandchildren. I wonder whatever Beatrix would think if she knew that her little stores were read all around the world.

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  25. Dearest Rosemary,
    Lovely post and indeed it is quite a historic milestone for Beatrix Potter being born 150 years ago.
    She added so much to this world and left a legacy with her sweet stories and illustrations!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - the land, farms, and properties that she left to the National Trust was a special and lasting legacy.
      She could never have imagined that her stories would travel to all corners of the world.

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  26. That was such a wonderful legacy that Beatrix left us in both her fantastic books and also leaving so much land to the National Trust and preserving it for future generations. It looks as if you had lots of company on your trip around Hilltop! Sarah x

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    1. You are so right Sarah - little eyes everywhere, but strangely nobody else seemed to be aware of them but us!!

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  27. Such a lovely and charming post, Rosemary - I love all the characters in your photos. I hope to explore the Lake District one day, I've only been there a couple of times and don't feel I know it at all. BP's cottage is one place I really must see. It looks wonderful.

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    1. Do try to return Wendy sometime - we love the Lake District especially the remoter western lakes and mountains.

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  28. This is a place I'd love to visit with my daughter. When she was a little girl she was in love with Miss Tiggywinkle and Jemimah. There were books and china figurines, bed linen and curtains. She couldn't get enough. When she was expecting her first child her first purchase for baby was - you guessed it - a new set of books. Hers are worn and broken-backed. What a treat it would be to walk through the gardens and to visit the rooms. Thank you for taking us along. I will show this post to my daughter, who will appreciate the company you had on your tour!

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    1. Thank you H - hope that your daugther enjoys the post - non of the other visitors seemed to notice our little companions!!

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  29. What a lovely post.

    I love the little 'interlopers' in your pictures :-)

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment

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