Born Helen Potter on July 28th 1866 this famous children’s author is better known to us all by her middle name, Beatrix. Growing up in a privileged household, Beatrix lived a solitary childhood and would instead spend her time with her myriad pets wandering the grounds of her holiday homes in the Lake District and in Scotland learning about and developing a love for the local flora and fauna there.

Although opportunities for further education were very limited for women of the period, Beatrix’s study of fungi and her stunning watercolour depictions would lead her to becoming very well respected in the field of mycology. Potter first tasted success as an illustrator, selling some of her work to be used for greeting cards.

One of her most famous works, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”, started out as a story she wrote for the children of a former governess in a letter. Encouraged by the children to continue the tale in her letters, potter later transformed this letter into a book, which she published privately in 1902, with Frederick Warne & Co, publishing company run by three brothers including Norman Warne whom she quickly fell in love with and became engaged too.

Her upperclass parents objected to their love but love prevailed until sadly, only weeks after proposing to Beatrix, he passed away died suddenly and unexpectedly of leukaemia. A devastated Beatrix poured her love of wildlife into practice after receiving a legacy from an aunt, which along with the proceeds of her books, allowed her to purchase a farm in order to preserve the landscape.

Upon her death at the age of 77 all this land was bequeathed to The National Trust and now goes to make up a large part of The Lake District National Park. With over 30 books to her name Beatrix has become a timeless part of many people’s childhoods and her stories continue to sell well, being made into films, ballets, animations and songs and words of wisdom. SOURCES wikipedia, www.biography.com, & www.peterrabbit.com

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