Image & Reality: Beatrix Potter’s extraordinary Lake District legacy

Beatrix Potter - Image & Reality exhibition at Armitt Museum, Ambleside (photo credit The Beatrix Potter Society) Beatrix Potter illustration of Hygrocybe coccinea - Image & Reality exhibition at Armitt Museum, Ambleside Beatrix Potter illustration of three-spined & ten-spined sticklebacks - Image & Reality exhibition at Armitt Museum, Ambleside Beatrix Potter illustration of Pipistrelle & Long-eared Bats and Amantopsis vaginata (credit Armitt Museum) Beatrix Potter - Tailor of Gloucester, 1902 edition (credit Armitt Museum) Beatrix Potter illustration of Panaeolus semioatus (credit Armitt Museum)

Beatrix Potter is a world-renowned author, synonymous with the Lake District, charming children’s books and of course the iconic Peter Rabbit. There is however a great deal more to discover about this talented writer and influential thinker, beyond a world of mischievous mice, resourceful hedgehogs and adorable soporific bunnies!

// BEATRIX POTTER: IMAGE & REALITY

The Image & Reality exhibition at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside, provides a perfect opportunity to further explore the incredible life of Beatrix Potter through her writing, scientific theories and meticulous illustrations.

Today the Armitt, in Ambleside, boasts an impressively exquisite collection of 460 botanical drawings and watercolours that Beatrix Potter bequeathed to the museum

Born on 28 July, 1866 in Kensington, London, Beatrix Potter experienced an affluent Victorian childhood in a closeted, yet safe and secure environment that allowed her to develop her own interests in the natural world and cultivate an immense and insatiable imagination.

After years confined to the nursery, Beatrix Potter was quick to take advantage of artistic opportunities during the family holidays, at first these were sketching excursions in Scotland, but from 1882 the Potter family holidayed for the most part in the Lake District.

// A LOVE OF NATURE, ART & THE LAKE DISTRICT

Over the years a love of nature along with prolific sketching and writing manifested in an impressive collection of drawings and successful children’s books, that established Beatrix Potter’s reputation in literary society and also bestowed financial independence and freedom.

In 1905 Beatrix bought her first property, Hill Top Farm, in the village of Near Sawrey, in the Lake District and as royalties mounted she was also able to invest in more land and cottages. Over the years alongside looking after her growing estate Beatrix became deeply involved in Herdwick farming and in the life of the Lake District countryside, which she had grown to love. She was a member of the Armitt Library almost from its founding in 1912 and was a great supporter and advocate of landscape preservation for future generations.

Inside Hill Top - Beatrix Potter's former home in Near Sawrey
Inside Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s former home in Near Sawrey

Today the Armitt boasts an impressively exquisite collection of 460 botanical drawings and watercolours that Beatrix Potter bequeathed to the museum upon her death in 1943.

These illustrations demonstrate not only Beatrix Potter’s artistic skill, but also her inquisitive and intellectual interest in archaeology, nature, microbiology and mycology

The selection of fungi drawings, are particularly intriguing and give a vivid indication of her passion for mycology between 1888 and 1898. Extensive detailed research that culminated in a paper on the germination of macro-fungi, which was presented to England’s oldest natural history organisation, The Linnean Society in London.

The fascinating outcome and visual legacy of her venture into Victorian science is revealed in ‘Image & Reality’ – the extraordinary story of a truly remarkable woman.

Find out more about the Image & Reality exhibition at the Armitt Museum here

To enjoy this Lakes Culture event and much more, book your break in the Lake District here