Beatrix Potter Chronology


  • 1866


    July 28 Helen Beatrix Potter born in 2 Bolton Gardens,
    South Kensington, London, first child of Helen and Rupert Potter.



  • 1871


    Beatrix spends first summer holiday at Dalguise House, Dunkeld, Scotland, her summer
    home for the next 11 years and her first experience in nature on her own.



  • 1872


    brother Walter Bertram born.









  • Beatrix and Spot


    Beatrix and Spot

  • 1881


    first entry at age 15 in her Journal in a code devised by her, a simple letter for
    letter substitution which was 'cracked' by Leslie Linder in 1958.



  • 1882


    The Potter family's first Lake District holiday at Wray Castle in the Lake District.
    Beatrix meets Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the three founders of the National Trust.



  • 1883


    Annie Carter(age 19) engaged as governess and companion for 16yr old Beatrix, to
    teach German. Death of Edmund Potter, Beatrix's artistic, entrepreneurial and very
    wealthy paternal grandfather.



  • 1885


    Carter leaves to marry Edwin Moore , Noel Moore, the first child of 6 children,
    is born two years later. Beatrix acquires a rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer.



  • 1886


    first recorded microscopic watercolour -- gnat's leg.









  • Beatrix and Revd. William Gaskell


    Beatrix and William Gaskell

  • 1887


    Beatrix develops serious rheumatic fever affecting her heart. She paints her first
    known fungus.



  • 1889


    Benjamin Bouncer models for Potter family Christmas cards.



  • 1890


    Beatrix sells first drawings to Hildesheimer & Faulkner of London, used as greeting
    cards and illustrations to book of rhymes, A Happy Pair by Frederic E. Weatherly.



  • 1891


    death of Jessy Potter, Beatrix's adored grandmother. Beatrix sketches for cards
    or booklets which were rejected by Frederick Warne & Co.



  • 1892


    Oct Beatrix meets Charlie McIntosh, the Perthshire
    naturalist in Birnam, Scotland and discusses her fungi and mosses. They establish
    a collaboration: exchange of material for paintings. She becomes preoccupied with
    painting of fungi.



  • 1893


    Sept 3 At Eastwood, Dunkeld, Scotland, Beatrix finds
    and paints the rare fungus `Old Man of the Woods.'



    Sept 4 Beatrix sends five year old Noel Moore a story
    about her pet rabbit, Peter.



    Sept 5 Beatrix sends four year old Eric Moore a picture
    letter about "a frog called Mr. Jeremy Fisher."









  • Beatrix Potter: Fungus illustration

  • 1894


    Beatrix independently visits her cousin, Caroline Hutton near Gloucestershire



    Draws the important botanical fossil Pitus.



    Learns six complete plays by Shakespeare by hear.



    Draws Roman objects to scale from a relics collection in London



    McIntosh suggests she include half-step drawings of fungi to make them more botanically
    accurate.



  • 1895


    Nister publishes Beatrix's drawings "A Frog he would a-fishing go"



    Beatrix accepts commission from Caroline Martineau to draw 12 lithographs of insects
    for Morely College for Men. Only two survive. Unknown if other 10 were finished.



  • 1896


    May, Beatrix goes to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with
    her uncle Sir Henry Roscoe to show her fungus drawings to Director Wm. Thistleton-Dyer.



    July - Oct Beatrix and family spend summer holiday
    in Near Sawrey, "Its is as nearly perfect a little place as I have ever lived in."



    Dec. working on fungus reproduction .



  • 1897


    Paper presented to Linnean Society "On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae"
    by Kew scientist Wm. Massee Beatrix withdraws it to do further work. She is
    31.



  • 1901


    Jan Peter Rabbit dies.



    Sept. Frederick Warne & Co show interest in `The Tale
    of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor's Garden,' but reject rhyming text by Rawnsley.
    Beatrix refuses to add colour to her illustrations.



    Sept writes the story of Squirrel Nutkin in picture
    letter to Norah Moore



    Dec.16 Beatrix publishes 250 copies of the Tale
    of Peter Rabbit, privately. With b/​w drawings and coloured frontispiece.



  • 1902


    Frederick Warne publishes 8000 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, shortened and
    illustrated in full colour



    Nov. Bertram Potter secretly married in Edinburgh



    Dec. Beatrix privately publishes 500 copies of The
    Tailor of Gloucester









  • Peter Rabbit Patent


    Peter Rabbit Patent

  • 1903


    Aug. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin published by Warne.,
    Oct. shorter version of Tailor of Gloucester published by Warne



    Dec Beatrix registers her Peter Rabbit doll at the
    Patent Office.



  • 1904


    The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Two Bad Mice, published by Warne. Develops
    board game of Peter Rabbit with rules.



  • 1905


    July 25 Beatrix receives and accepts proposal of marriage
    from her editor Norman Warne against her parent's objections. She is 39.



    July Beatrix leaves for holiday in Wales



    Aug 25. Norman Warne dies of leukaemia, age 37



    `Peter Rabbit' wallpaper goes on sale



    Sept The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle published



    Oct. The Pie and the Patty-Pan published



    Nov. Beatrix officially buys Hill Top Farm in Near
    Sawrey



  • 1906


    July The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher published by Warne



    Sept Beatrix starts to breed Herdwick Sheep at Hill Top
    Farm



  • 1907


    The Tale of Tom Kitten published.



  • 1908


    publication of The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.



  • 1909


    Beatrix buys second farm in Near Sawrey, Castle Farm



    two more tales published :The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, & The Tale of Ginger and
    Pickles









  • Beatrix and William Heelis


    Beatrix and William Heelis

  • 1910


    Beatrix registers Jemima Puddle-Duck doll at Patent Office.



  • 1911


    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes and Peter Rabbit's Painting Book published by Warne



  • 1912


    The Tale of Mr. Todd is published.



    Beatrix campaigns against hydroplanes on Windermere



    at the end of year, Beatrix accepts proposal of marriage from William Heelis, a
    Lake District solicitor.



  • 1913 Oct.


    marries Heelis in London take Castle Cottage as their home, keeping Hill Top Farm
    as a place for Beatrix to work.



    Warne publishes The Tale of Piggling Bland









  • Beatrix and Kep


    Beatrix and Kep

    (courtesy National Trust)

  • 1914


    Beatrix's father dies.



    WWI begins



  • 1916


    BP employs a woman, Louie Choyce to help her with the farm and garden.



    Two more stories published



  • 1917


    Harold Warne arrested for embezzlement in London,



    Beatrix helps to save company with a new book, Appley Dappley's Book of Rhymes which
    she began in 1902.



    Bertram Potter dies of stroke in Scotland



    Tale of Johnny Town Mouse published



  • 1919


    new Warne firm incorporated, presses BP for new book



    Beatrix establishes District Nursing trust in Sawrey area



  • 1920


    Hardwicke Rawnsley dies



  • 1921


    Anne Carroll Moore, American superintendent of Children's Work, New York public
    Library visits Sawrey and encourages Beatrix to write another book. Begins a stream
    of American visitors to Near Sawrey.



    Dec. Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes published



  • 1923


    Beatrix buys Troutbeck Park Farm, 1900 acre sheep farm



  • 1925


    Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book published.



  • 1926


    The Roly-Poly Pudding changed to The Tale of Samuel Whiskers



    Beatrix employs shepherd Tom Storey at Troutbeck Park



    Nov. Storey moves to Hill Top to manage farm and breed
    sheep.



    May, sells 50 drawings through The Horn Book Magazine,
    Book Shop for Girls and Boys in Boston to raise money to save shoreline of Windermere
    from development.



    Visit from Henry P. Coolidge from Boston, The Fairy Caravan would be dedicated to
    him.



  • 1928


    Warne publishes Peter Rabbit's Almanac for 1929



  • 1929


    David McKay in Philadelphia publishes The Fairy Caravan US only until 1930



  • 1930


    63 yr old Beatrix buys 5000 acre Monk Coniston on condition that
    National Trust will take over half when they raise the money



    wins silver challenge cup for best Lake District Herdwick ewe.



    Sept. The Tale of Little Pig Robinson published by
    McKay



    Oct. Trust bought half Monk Coniston, but ask Beatrix
    to manage entire estate



  • 1932


    McKay publishes grisly version of Bluebeard, called Sister Anne, in US only Helen
    Potter, Beatrix's mother dies at 93



  • 1936


    Walt Disney offers to make film of Peter Rabbit, BP refuses



  • 1937


    Beatrix hands over management of half of Monk Consiton to National Trust agent Bruce
    Thompson



  • 1938


    Beatrix has surgery in Liverpool









  • Beatrix Potter


    Beatrix Potter

  • 1939


    Beatrix dictates her will before second surgery



    England and France declare War on Germany



  • 1941


    Beatrix supervises farm work during war, whole edition of Peter Rabbit lost in bombing
    of London.



  • 1943


    Beatrix elected President of Herdwick Sheep Breeders' Assoc. to begin March 1944.
    She would have been first woman president of Association.



    Aug. agrees to publication of "Wag-By Wall" in Christmas
    edition of The Horn Book. Published posthumously.


    Dec 22


    Beatrix Potter Heelis dies at 77 at Castle Cottage, cremated at
    Blackpool, and ashes scattered on her land by husband and Tom Storey



  • 1945


    William Heelies dies. Joint Heelis property, over 4000 acres with 17 farms, 8 cottages
    all bequeathed to National Trust





* Chronology by Linda Lear, adapted from Judy Taylor's in Beatrix Potter Artist
& Illustrator, paintings and drawings selected by Anne Stevenson Hobbs

(London: Frederick Warne & Co., 2005)