Beatrix Potter

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Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, mycologist and conservationist best known for children's books featuring anthropomorphic characters such as in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Born into a privileged household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had numerous pets and spent holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developing a love of landscape, flora and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted. Her parents discouraged her education, but her study and watercolors of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology. In her thirties, Potter published the highly successful children's book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Potter then began writing and illustrating children's books full time.

With proceeds from the books, she became financially independent and was eventually able to buy Hill Top Farm in the Lake District. She extended the property with other purchases over time. She was 47 when she married[1] William Heelis, a local solicitor, became a sheep breeder and farmer while continuing to write and illustrate children's books. She published twenty-three books. Potter died on 22 December 1943, and left almost all of her property to the National Trust.

Her books continue to sell well throughout the world, in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold in various formats including a ballet, films, and in animation.



Early years

Potter's paternal ancestors were Unitarians from Glossop in Derbyshire. Her father, Rupert William Potter (1832–1914), son of the industrialist and Member of Parliament, Edmund Potter, was educated in Manchester and trained as a barrister in London. He married Helen Leech (1839–1932), the daughter of a cotton merchant, at Gee Cross on 8 August 1863. The couple settled in London, living on inherited wealth.[2] They bought a home in Bolton Gardens South Kensington, where Helen Beatrix was born on 28 July 1866.[3]

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