Objects from our Beatrix Potter collection

The large and varied collection at Hill Top and the Gallery give us a glimpse inside Beatrix Potter's magpie mind. There are some objects over 400 years old, such as antique furniture and original paintings but there are also many more modern items from across the world, all brought to this corner of the Lakes by Beatrix Potter. Each month we’ll be adding a new object on to this list to show you the kinds of things we’re looking after.

A miniature green tin dustpan and horsehair brush


Our chosen object for January is this charming miniature dustpan from the dolls house in Hill Top, made from tin and horsehair, it's just a few centimeters across.

Large iron key for the front door of Hill Top


The house is now open for a new year so we thought this large key, which was the original for the front door of Hill Top would be appropriate. Beatrix wrote about it in 'The Fairy Caravan', Pippin comments "You should see the key of our door, I cannot lift it".

Small yellow toy chicken with nodding head and leaded foot


With spring in the air we were wondering why Beatrix kept this little toy chicken in her collection? With a nodding head and one lead foot, it's an odd little thing which is probably just why she liked it!

Two fragile painted eggs packed in a box for transportation


These eggs were decorated by Beatrix as part of the northern Easter tradition of 'Pace-Egging'. Here they are packed in a nest of acid free tissue paper for transportation to the Beatrix Potter Gallery, where you can see them on display as part of this year's exhibition.

Rush woven wide-brimmed hat with remains of floral decoration that belonged to Beatrix Potter


This rush woven wide-brimmed hat with the remains of a delicate floral decoration belonged to Beatrix. We're sure she would have popped this on when the weather began to feel spring like!

A framed collection of butterflies by Bertram Potter


This summery collection of butterflies was put together by Bertram, Beatrix's brother. You can see a whole cabinet full of things they collected as children, from beetles to cannonballs, on display in the Beatrix Potter Gallery.

A black tin watercolour paint box. Paints belonged to Beatrix's mother


Currently in Japan as part of our large loan, this delicate tin paint box has Beatrix's mothers name on the inside but was used by the author and illustrator herself. We think this would have got a lot of use on her summer holidays spent in the Lake District as she was bursting with ideas and inspiration.

Ivory and paper fan from the Beatrix Potter collection


This beautiful paper fan from the collection has a vellum backing with sticks of ivory. We can imagine Beatrix admiring the romantic painting on it but not really using the fan a lot herself...has it ever been hot enough in the Lake District for a fan?!

Writing slope that belonged to Beatrix Potter


As children go back to school this month we've picked out this wooden and leather writing slope from the collection. This is where Beatrix would have written her letters and correspondence to fans and publishers across the world.

Staffordshire jug dating to c1820 which belonged to Beatrix Potter


October is harvesting time and this pretty Staffordshire jug details a poem expressing the joys of living and working on a farm. It dates back to 1820 and expresses a similar sentiment to the one we know Beatrix herself carried.

Pottery tile detailing a family of rabbits painted by Beatrix Potter


Painted by Beatrix when she was just 14-years-old, this beautiful pottery tile was fitted as a teapot stand and features a family of rabbits painted in blue underglaze on white. It showcases Beatrix’s extraordinary ability to capture the anatomical detail - even at an early age - which would lead to the creation of such lifelike characters in her tales. It is signed on reverse 'February 1881. H.B. Potter.'