However, this time around it is her father, Rupert Potter, who created the work on offer at 1818 Auctioneers on April 3 – and one of these photographs is thought to show his daughter.
One of the 41 black and white images he took in the late summers of 1909, 1911 and 1913 is believed to be of Beatrix sat in the porch of Broad Leys, a house they rented by Lake Windermere in 1909. At the time Beatrix was working on The Tale of Ginger and Pickles.
Rupert Potter was a keen and competent amateur photographer and a member of the Photographic Society of London. The National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museums in London have exhibited and hold some of his photographs.
Although his interest was portrait photography, the collection of which is up for sale is not of people but of the house and gardens at Broad Leys (1909) and Lindeth How (1911 and 1913). There are also views of Bowness and Windermere including the Old England Hotel dated 1911. The exception is the one image of, very likely, his daughter Beatrix.
The collection is being sold by an anonymous vendor whose family once worked for Beatrix’s mother in Windermere. It is estimated at £800-1200.
Last year marked 150 years since Beatrix's birth and inspired a series of events, but interest is always high in this collecting market.
The letter sold at 1818 on February 6 was handwritten by the then Beatrix Heelis, as she became after marrying at the age of 47. Heelis wrote to the Mayor of Kendal, Henry Airey, on August 30, 1937, on fine tissue paper. She congratulate hims on a speech he gave a year earlier to celebrate the town’s success in securing the tiny prayer book of Catherine Parr, sixth and final wife of Henry VIII.
The mayor had campaigned hard to raise funds to buy this because of an important link to Kendal: Parr’s father Sir Thomas Parr (c.1483-1517) was an English knight, courtier and Lord of the Manor of Kendal in Westmorland.
However, the main reason for the letter is, she says, to reassure him of her plans for a loom she purchased that very day: Kendal’s last working loom. She writes “I will not take away a relic of Kendal without telling you” and that it will not go to “Kendal museum, a dreary jumble of stuffed birds and sundries …” but perhaps to “Coniston to the estate ‘workshop’...”.
The auction house had hopes of about £1500 on the letter but it sold at £1800, to the owner of Kendal Youth Hostel who was in the room bidding. Also in the lot was a copy of the prayer book which was presented to Airey at the ceremony by the famed writer Hugh Walpole - who also signed it along with Margaret Strickland of Sizergh Castle.
Mighty town mouse
Meanwhile, an extensive collection of Beatrix Potter books and drawings opens Forum Auctions’ Fine Books and Works on Paper sale in London on March 30.
Consigned from the property of a gentleman, the 59-lot group ranges from sketches and watercolour flower studies to first editions of the author’s best-known books.
Pictured here is a first edition of The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse with 26 colour plates. Published in 1918 when Potter’s eyesight was failing, it became the last book for which Potter drew up an entirely new set of illustrations. The character of Johnny Town-Mouse was based on Dr Parsons, a friend of her husband.
It is estimated at £300-400.