Beatrix Potter was the cousin of Ethel, Lady Hyde Parker, grandmother of Sir Richard Hyde Parker, the present Baronet. She visited Melford Hall on many occasions and painted a series of watercolours of the house. The visitors' book contains numerous signatures and sketches, which mark her visits to the house.
The collections at Melford Hall include several of her soft toys, which served as models for her illustrations.
Beatrix Potter's bedroom
Beatrix Potter slept in the West Bedroom at Melford Hall. The room is furnished as it would have been when she frequently visited, with a Victorian bed and furniture.
To the amusement of the Hyde Parker children she would bring her small animals on her visits to the Hall and house them in the adjoining turret room (which can be seen through the open door).
William Hyde Parker once remarked:
'When we were children we just loved it when she (Beatrix) arrived, for she always brought a cage with mice, another with a hamster or a porcupine and a third with something else in it. It was such fun for all us children’.
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck was based on real-life events in the farmyard at Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top in the Lake District.
The duck pond in the same tale is based upon an illustration Beatrix Potter drew for the Jeremy Fisher stories when visiting her relatives at Melford Hall.
On display today
The Beatrix Potter Room at Melford Hall displays watercolours and drawings by Beatrix Potter. A model of Jemima Puddle-Duck is also on display, given as a present from Beatrix Potter to the Hyde Parker children.