Born July 28, 1866, Beatrix Potter has become one of the most iconic figures in classic children's literature. Some of her beloved short stories include The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, and more.
Let's take a moment to celebrate Beatrix Potter's legacy by taking a look at the imaginative mind behind some of the most timeless children's stories in the literary world. Read on for 5 interesting facts about Beatrix Potter!
1. Her characters were based on real pets
Beatrix Potter loved animals and kept a menagerie of pets at home that ranged from hedgehogs, to frogs, to bunnies. Some of her most popular literary characters are actually based on pets Potter owned in real life! She created the character of Peter Rabbit based on her real-life beloved bunny, Peter Piper. Another rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer, was the inspiration for Peter Rabbit's cousin, Benjamin Bunny. Potter loved spending hours sketching and creating fictional adventures based on her many cherished pets.
2. Potter was a naturalist
Although Potter was born into a well-to-do family which provided her resources many others didn't have, her parents didn't believe intellectual development was important for a woman. Potter pursued her love of nature in spite of this and spent significant time sketching the natural world. She went on to become an accomplished scientific illustrator and even penned a paper on fungi spores!
3. Potter wasn't immediately successful
Almost everyone has heard of Peter Rabbit these days (it was even made into a modern film a few years back), but when Potter originally tried to get The Tale of Peter Rabbit into print she was turned down by every publisher she sent it to. Eventually, Potter took things into her own hands and published it herself with a run of 250 copies. The following year, in 1902, an official publisher re-did the book in color. It proved so popular that it needed to be reprinted six more times by the end of its first year!
4. Potter's mother didn't approve of her
Despite Potter's massive success, her mother always considered her as something of a disappointment. Beatrix Potter's mum wanted a daughter she could marry off into an advantageous match and who would accompany her on social calls, but instead Potter was much more interested in nature, sketching, and writing. In 1905, Potter accepted a marriage proposal from her publisher, Norman Warne, but her parents were so against the match that they refused to make it public. Warne died before the couple could marry, and Potter waited until she was 47 before deciding to marry a solicitor named William Heelis.
5. Potter left her land to the British National Trust
When Beatrix Potter died at the ripe old age of 77, she left behind many farms and acres of land in the beautiful Lake District. In order to ensure that the stunning landscapes that inspired her work would be preserved, Potter chose to leave it all to the British National Trust. Today, you can visit Potter's home in Cumbria which she called Hill Top.
What's your favorite Beatrix Potter character and story? Our brand new poster is made using 14 of Beatrix Potter's short stories. Comment below and tell us what you think!