Exhibition of original artwork at the Beatrix Potter Gallery opens for 2021

Three rabbits illustrated by Beatrix Potter from Cecily Parsleys Nursery Rhymes 1922

This year's exhibition of Beatrix Potter’s original artwork, illustrations and letters 'Friendship by Post – people who shaped Beatrix Potter’s world', explores how important correspondence was to Beatrix.

A visit to the Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead, this year will give you a unique insight into how Beatrix Potter kept in touch with her friends, family, loved ones and professional contacts around the world. 

After a year where we've all been trying to find ways to keep in touch without face-to-face contact, it's touching to reminded how a handwritten letter can make such a personal connection. 

A personal insight

The 'Friendship by Post' exhibition highlights how at times Beatrix’s letters are unbearably sad, but often show the humour, determination and energy of this many-sided genius. 

The characterful rooms of the Gallery have been freshly fitted with new display cases and complementary colour schemes on the walls. Wandering through the building you’ll get up close to original letter’s Beatrix sent, line sketches, original colour illustrations and photographs.

A picture paints a thousand words

Her letters aren’t quite like the postcards and notes we might send; imagine the delight in receiving correspondence from Beatrix which included small detailed sketches and drawings to illustrate her points alongside the wordsmith work of the best-selling author.

Some tender extracts show us what a good friend she was and a passionate farmer, commenting in a letter to her shepherd at Troutbeck Park, that she's looking forward to lambing time and how much she values their friendship. 

Beatrix Potter writes with fond words to one of her shepherds, as they make plans for another lambing time and she updates him on the farm business.
Handwritten letter from Baetrix Potter to one of her shepherds Joe Moscrop
Beatrix Potter writes with fond words to one of her shepherds, as they make plans for another lambing time and she updates him on the farm business.

A shared solidarity with National Trust founder

The exhibition also takes a look at some of the key relationships that influenced Beatrix Potter’s view of the world and those with whom her correspondence offered a sense of solidarity and shared purpose.

None could be more significant than her friendship with Canon Rawnsley, founder of the National Trust. 

Beatrix Potter with friend and mentor Hardwicke Rawnsley in the Lake District, 1912.
Beatrix Potter stands next to Hardwicke Rawnsley in front of a house in the Lake District, 1912.
Beatrix Potter with friend and mentor Hardwicke Rawnsley in the Lake District, 1912.

A life-long influencer  

The exhibition opens with a focus on how her first encounter with the passionate and charismatic Hardwick Rawnsley led to a lasting friendship. He encouraged her to publish her stories for children and inspired her determination to help conserve the Lake District countryside with which she had fallen in love.

The quirky Gallery building is tucked away in the heart of Hawkshead village and it’s the only place you can continually see Beatrix's illustrations on display.

The Beatrix Potter Gallery is open every day except Fridays & Saturdays, 10.30am – 4pm. 

Upcoming events

Sorry, there are no upcoming events at this place.