Beatrix Potter Exhibition – Victoria and Albert Museum London

As I told you here, we went to see the Beatrix Potter exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This is the first exhibition to tell the whole life story of Beatrix Potter, one of the most famous illustrators in 20th century children’s literature. Maybe you don’t know it, but she is one of my favorite illustrators so so I saw that we were going to London at the time of the exhibition it was the first activity I put on our to-do-list.

On exhibit were more than 200 personal items, including works of art, rarely shown letters, manuscripts, sketches and more. This exhibition celebrates his talent for storytelling, his fascination with the natural sciences and his business acumen.

The exhibition was divided into four parts. In this post, you will see some pictures of the museography which was very successful.

Town and Country

Beatrix Potter exhibition

In the first part of the exhibition we discovered his childhood drawings and his very early interest in drawings of plants and animals. Her parents encouraged her taste for creation by offering her drawing lessons from the age of 12. She learned oil painting, but turned away from it and continued to use watercolors.

The sketchbook below dates from 1876, which means that Beatrix Potter was 10 years old when she made these drawings.

Under the Microscope

Like many Victorian middle-class children, Beatrix and her brother Bertram were encouraged to study and draw nature. Both kept animals in their nursery or classroom. Their parents and nannies pretended not to notice. When their animals died, the two children dissected and stuffed them or kept their bones. These many years of observing and drawing animals strengthened Beatrix’s interest in nature.

This part of the exhibition was organized like a naturalist’s room with cabinets, drawers etc.

The texts were sort of lighted tables with shadows of insects and animals that moved.

Exposition Beatrix Potter

A Natural Storyteller

In her mid-twenties, Beatrix translated her observation of animals and nature into illustrated stories. Her pets inspired her fantasy and she wrote their antics in letters that became the basis for her stories. In 1902, she signed a contract with Warne & Co. Her books sold quickly.

The exhibition perfectly reflected Beatrix Potter’s interest in animals and nature. For example, this panel of animated shadows featured the antics of little mice.

In this part of the exhibition there were many drawings, his paint box, books etc.

This hedgehog is my favorite of the exhibition.

Living Nature

Finally, the exhibition showed Beatrix Potter’s life in the Lake District and its impact on its landscape.

A large panaromic video showed animals and the landscape.

Beatrix Potter exhibition : what I think about it

The exhibition was really perfect. The different aspects of Beatrix Potter’s life were detailed, the works numerous. I learned that she was an excellent entrepreneur who was able to make her work profitable and make a place for herself in a man’s world. At that time, very few artists exploited their characters in a commercial way. The museography was really perfect.

Of course, I left with the catalog. It is a very complete little gem with extensive texts and beautiful illustrations. I put some pages below.

Do you know Beatrix Potter? I guess so, if only because of the famous Peter Rabbit. Would you have liked to see this exhibition?

See you soon!

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