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 certificate from Penrith Agricultural Society show awarded to Beatrix for her herdwick sheep

August 2018

August is the month for agricultural shows here in the Lake District, so we thought it fitting to feature one of the many certificates Beatrix won for her Herdwick sheep. Beatrix was influential in preserving this hardy breed (the survival of which was under threat at the time) and as such she was the first woman to be elected as President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association in 1943.

Steiff Peter Rabbit soft toy

July 2018

This early Steiff Peter Rabbit was originally marketed as 'Farmer Rabbit'. When Steiff acquired the license they were able to re-brand him as Peter because of his blue jacket. There are three of these dolls in our care as part of the Beatrix Potter collection and they're well travelled, having been on loan to various exhibitions over the years.

This spotted handkerchief appears in The Tale of Peter Rabbit

June 2018

This red and white spotted handkerchief was used by Beatrix for her illustrations of the character Peter Rabbit in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. As we enjoy this hot summer, our sympathies are with those suffering from hay fever, who may be in need of one of these!

King Edward Vii coronation teapot

May 2018

May’s object fits with the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This wonderful teapot celebrates the coronation of Edward VII, and the lettering reads; Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Accession Jan 1901, Coronation June 1902. One side of teapot features the faces of the King and Queen surrounded by moulded floral wreaths, whilst the other side spots the royal coat of arms. The lid is in the shape of a large pink crown.

Blue and white porcelain cup

April 2018

This dainty blue and white porcelain cup was made by Beatrix's father Rupert, signed 'RP 11/72'. An unusual little cup, it has three feet and a dragon head handle, decorated in blue with sprigs of flowers and a butterfly - a nod to spring, which is still slowly arriving here in the Lake District.

A pair of Grimwade children's egg cups from the Beatrix Potter collection

March 2018

With Easter weekend on the horizon we thought it fitting to have this pair of dainty Grimwade children's ware egg cups, featuring Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin, as our March items. Traditionally 'paste-eggs' were made at Easter by boiling an egg in a naturally coloured substance (beetroot for example) to create a decorative egg, which would then be eaten.

A plaster of Paris bookend featuring the figure of Benjamin Bunny

February 2018

With World Book Day fast approaching our item for this month is this sweet plaster of Paris bookend featuring the iconic figure of Benjamin Bunny, cousin to Peter Rabbit. The figure was modelled by M.M. Jones for Beatrix’s publisher Frederick Warne.

Bronze frog, part of the Beatrix Potter collection at Hill Top

January 2018 

As the house reawakens for the start of a new season, who better to feature in the first update of 2018 than the star of 'Putting Hill Top to bed' - Beatrix's bronze frog. He is often the first thing visitors see as they step into Hill Top. Can you spot him during your visit?

Paper Christmas decoration, red bell opening in concertina-fashion

December

What better object to feature for December than a Christmas decoration? Thanks to careful storage it’s still in impeccable condition, and the bright red paper of this concertina-fashioned bell makes it appear much younger than it truly is.

Pottery tile detailing a family of rabbits painted by Beatrix Potter

November

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.'

Staffordshire jug dating to c1820 which belonged to Beatrix Potter

October

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.