Beatrix and Bertram’s World


Beatrix Potter (1866–1943)
Beatrix’s pet lizard Judy, from Ilfracombe, Devon, February 1884
Watercolor, pen and ink, and graphite
V&A: Linder Bequest BP.405
Image courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.


The third-floor nursery of the Potters’ home was a schoolroom dedicated to furthering Beatrix and Bertram’s education. Without recourse to the woodlands and open fields enjoyed by children in the countryside, Beatrix and Bertram made this space their special domain—a place to keep their growing menagerie of pets, collect specimens from the natural world, and conduct studies and experiments.

In this room you will see many of Beatrix’s drawings and watercolors taken from nature, ranging from botanicals and insect studies to sketches of mice and her beloved rabbits, Peter Piper and Benjamin Bouncer, the inspirations for Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. The insect studies are sophisticated from a biological perspective, and were in some cases reproduced as lithographs for the possible use in natural history instruction at a nearby London college.