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Beatrix Potter - 150 Years



My enchanting Royal Mail Mint stamps of 150 Years of Beatrix Potter and The Tale of Peter Rabbit miniature sheet arrived in the mail this morning. Like a child exhilarated with his slab of chocolate, I jumped and I skipped and I hummed my favourite tunes around at the brilliance of how properly the pack had been presented. Once I was drained of my merriment, I sat quiet, and in my silence it struck me that being the visual-led world that it currently is, I ought to do better. So I extracted the contents from the transparent envelope and photographed it along with my vintage Reader’s Digest mini books, my 18th Century engraved ormolu petit point pin holder, and the tiny pencils that my mother had brought for me when I was a baby of two years from her trip to America. 

For those who are not familiar with the author, Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Born into a privileged household, Potter grew up isolated from other children. As entertainment, she had numerous pets, and often spent her holidays in Scotland and the Lake District. That is where she developed a love for the landscape, flora and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted. Her study in watercolours of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology.

It was in her thirties that she published the highly successful children’s book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and then she went onto write about thirty books in total.

All of the above I have collated from various sources on the Internet, though I must confess that I have not read a single volume of any works by Potter. When I was younger, I fancied books by those who were way beyond my understanding. I felt this feverishly internal need to want to be able to converse with somebody older, and with the same air and knowledge as them, and thus I lapped up Aristotle, Montaigne, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Foucault, Jung, Ovid, Keats, Burns, Byron, Shakespeare, Ackerman, Morris, Pinker, Eco and the list could go on. I also guess that as one gets older, one wants to be younger, and these days I find myself delighting in The Adventures of Tintin, to the melodramas of the mighty men – Spider, Super and Batman, blokes I was awfully allergic to in the years of growing up.  

What then lured me to write about Potter like I knew her work? I don’t know, really, like some people stand out in a crowd of many, and you cannot exactly tell why, her visuals just drew me. If I am to delve a bit deeper, then perhaps the harmony of the colours in her illustrations are something that I could not ignore. I found them to be alluring in the most charming manner. Like features are to a face, the animals she picked had a lot to do with the temperament of human beings too I suppose. I mean the reasons could be aplenty, but what matters is that she spoke to me, and I feel I know what I need to know of her by her visual representations, and for me that is enough to establish a connection with someone or something I haven’t actually met or known.





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