Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature


Creator of memorable animal characters like Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, and Mr. Jeremy Fisher, the children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) rooted her fiction in the natural world. Born in London, Potter spent her childhood summers in Scotland and in northwest England’s Lake District. These early experiences of the countryside nourished her love of nature, and, as with her famous menagerie of pets, inspired her picture letters and published tales.

Potter’s studies of plants and fungi established an abiding interest in the life sciences, a passion that she would bring to rural life at Hill Top Farm in the Lake District. There she enjoyed a second act as a sheep breeder and land conservationist, ultimately bequeathing four thousand acres, including farmland, to the National Trust for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Potter’s legacy persists not only in her books but in the environment itself: her efforts helped preserve the natural spaces that fostered her scientific pursuits and fired her imagination.

Organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), London, the exhibition brings together artworks, books, manuscripts, and artifacts from several institutions in the United Kingdom, including the V&A, the National Trust, and the Armitt Museum and Library. Paired with the Morgan’s exceptional collection of Potter’s picture letters, these objects trace how her innovative blend of scientific observation and imaginative storytelling shaped some of the world’s most popular children’s books.

Beatrix Potter (1866–1943), Mrs Rabbit pouring out the tea for Peter while her children look on, 1902–1907. Linder Bequest. Museum no. BP.468. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, / courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.

This exhibition at the Morgan is organized by Philip Palmer, Robert H. Taylor Curator and Department Head of Literary and Historical Manuscripts.

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature was created by the V&A – Touring the World

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature is made possible by major support from the Drue Heinz Charitable Trust, the Drue Heinz Exhibitions and Programs Fund, Susan Jaffe Tane, and an anonymous donor, with generous support from Katharine J. Rayner, the Christian Humann Foundation, the Caroline Morgan Macomber Fund, and Rudy L. Ruggles, Jr.