Four new drawings by Peter Rabbit author and illustrator Beatrix Potter have been serendipitously discovered. The sketches were found at Melford Hall, a mansion belonging to some of Potter’s relatives. She visited Melford Hall frequently between 1899 and 1938, and the sketches depict inside and outside views of the manor. You can see the drawings at The Guardian.
Josephine Waters, house manager at Melford Hall, discovered the first two drawings by chance while doing conservation work with a colleague. While going through some books, Waters noticed two drawings tucked into the books and knew immediately from the style that they were Potter’s. When she brought the drawings to Richard Hyde Parker, a baronet and the current owner of Melford Hall, he showed them a third drawing he had found previously but hadn’t attributed to Potter. A fourth drawing was discovered by Hyde Parker’s wife Jean soon after.
The exact dates of the drawings are not known, but the images add to what we know about the art that Potter made outside of illustrations of her animal characters. In addition to her famous illustrations, Potter created sketches and studies of nature and landscapes, much like the Melford Hall drawings. The Victoria and Albert Museum holds a large collection of Potter’s art and letters, which you can explore online.
The four drawings will be exhibited at Melford Hall beginning July 13.