In the Country


Beatrix Potter (1866–1943)
Leaves and flowers of the orchid cactus, 1886
Watercolor and graphite
The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Charles Ryskamp in honor of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Morgan Library and the 50th anniversary of the Association of Fellows, 2000.34.


One of Beatrix’s favorite places to visit on holiday was the home of her paternal grandparents, Edmund and Jessy, at Camfield Place, located in the county of Hertfordshire north of London. Jessy, whose maiden name was Crompton, came from a family that espoused radical perspectives on questions of labor and class. Bold, independent, and outspoken, Jessy was well liked by Beatrix, who enjoyed her family stories.

One of the eleven objects on display from the Morgan’s collection is this drawing of an orchid cactus kept by Jessy Potter at Camfield. Beatrix memorialized her grandmother’s house plants with this drawing, but also kept some pieces of furniture from Camfield, such as a heart-shaped chair.

The Potter family’s vacations, a shorter trip in the spring followed by a longer sojourn in late summer, took them south to the coasts of Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset; as well as north to Scotland and the Lake District. In the rest of the gallery you will see many of the drawings and picture letters Beatrix made while traveling outside of London.