The Life, Struggles, and Successes of Beatrix Potter
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Beatrix Potter was born in 1866 to a wealthy family in the Kensington area of London, England. Potter’s family became wealthy due to her grandfather Edmund at his prosperous mill in Lancaster, England. Potter’s mother poured most of her energy into entertaining and her father placed his into outdoor sport (e.g. shooting game and fishing) and pastimes considered to be that of an English gentlemen, but he also enjoyed the arts, attending lectures, the theater, art galleries etc. and was a photographer and avid sketch artist.
Potters love for animals began at age 6 when her brother Bertram was born, causing her to spend time on the top floor of the Potter home, in a Victorian nursery. Potter and Bertram created their own private zoo, with most of this menagerie coming from pet shops. Their collection was filled with characters from Potter’s later work with the example of Jeremy Fisher which was modeled upon a frog named “Punch”. Potter had a considerable affinity for animals and was able to befriend the mice which lived in the corner recesses of her room, calling them out to pet them and naming them after they began sitting in her hand. Potters affection was not only limited to the more known members of the animal kingdom however as she also enjoyed holding and looking at worms and snails. Potter took care of Bertram’s bat when he left for boarding school and was instructed to kill and stuff it if the bat would not eat, which she agreed to and carried out for her brother. The Potter children observed and recorded the behavior of their animals, and when they died, they would be boiled so that their bones could be examined.
Rupert Potter encouraged his daughter to share his interest in scientific inquiry and viewed his daughter as an equal to her brother, a rare viewpoint during the Victorian and Edwardian era. Potter’s first paid works were painted when she was 23, with the work depicting animals dressed as human beings. Bertram delivered these works to the office of Hildesheimer & Faulkner and the next day Potter received a cheque for £6.00 which equates to £799.36 as of 2021 when accounting for inflation, £1.00 paid for each of her 6 designs.
Art afforded Potter her own income, however as she approached her 30’s, she set off upon a differing course, meeting Charlie McIntosh in 1892 while in Scotland, a renowned historian and”