Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Beatrix Potter, Fabulist

As a creator of picture books, Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) has few peers because she wrote as well as she drew. Her Peter Rabbit books are little comic masterpieces that play out in England's Lake District, whose beauties Potter did so much to preserve (The Story of Beatrix Potter from The National Trust).

This idyllic landscape is the setting for clashes between well-behaved and disagreeable animal characters. Cats, rats, rabbits, and foxes may wear clothes and walk on their hind legs in Potter's tales, but their true natures are never disguised.

When Potter dressed up her animal characters for their roles in social comedies, she was working within the conventions of the Victorian toy book. But she handled familiar material with a touch all her own, as you'll see by comparing scenes from her tales with similar ones by other contemporary artists.

This virtual exhibition is based on one mounted in winter 2004 to celebrate the publication of The Beatrix Potter Collection of Lloyd Cotsen, and the presentation of this magnificent collection to the Cotsen Children's Library.