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A look at the life of Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was a famous English author who passed away on the 22nd December 1943. She was, and still is, best known for the children’s books she wrote and illustrated which included the hugely popular ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ and also ‘The Tale of Flopsy Bunnies’. Beatrix published many books between the 1890’s and the 1920’s, each of her books has sold in its millions and they are still big sellers today.

Her privileged upbringing was partly the inspiration behind her flair for writing, and her parents were both interested in nature as well as enjoying the countryside. They were both also artistic, and this rubbed off on young Beatrix as she displayed artistic skills from a very young age. She was especially close to Walter, her brother, and had an idyllic childhood growing up alongside him and their large, extended family.

Although the family were based in London many of their summers were spent in Scotland and the Lake District, and these holidays inspired much of her writing as an adult. She kept a secret journal during her childhood which she wrote in a secret code that she has created, and this code wasn’t cracked until 15 years after her death. Even Beatrix admitted that as she grew older, she found it harder to understand.

This journal was an insight into the real Beatrix as although most people had the opinion that she was very shy and reserved, she expressed herself openly in her journal. It is fascinating to discover how knowledgeable she was about writers, artists and politicians of that time, and also what strong opinions she had.

Beatrix never attended school and was home taught, and an enthusiast student. She developed her love of nature early in life and had many childhood pets that she both enjoyed caring for and sketching. A woman ahead of her time, Ms Potter had a head for business and knew exactly what children wanted from stories, and has kept them entranced ever since.

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