The tale begins in the late 1800s, a young Beatrix Potter, showing signs of great intelligence, received a sole education from a governess. From such isolation and a thirst for knowledge grew Potter's fascination with plants and nature.

But it wasn't until Potter was in her thirties that she created the beloved characters of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. Whilst taking her holidays in the Lake District and Scotland, Beatrice would send letters and sketches to the children of the former governess who had taught her. In particular, she would send letters to the eldest son of the governess, Noel, who was often taken ill.

Whilst in Eastwood in Dunkeld, Perthshire, in 1893, Potter sent a letter to Noel which featured the story and illustrations of four little rabbits. And from here, Peter Rabbit was born.

Potter (Beatrix) The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [one of 250 copies], colour frontispiece and 41 full-page plain illustrations by the author Potter (Beatrix) The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [one of 250 copies], colour frontispiece and 41 full-page plain illustrations by the author
Later, in 1900, Beatrix returned to the idea of writing the children's book about the cheeky little rabbit, Peter. Her first attempts to be published were unsuccesful, but a determined Potter published copies of the tale for her loved ones, using her own life savings.

In 1901, Potter gave a copy to her dear friend Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, who admired the tale so much he was convinced it would be a success. Finally, through Rawnsley's efforts, a copy of the book reached London publishing house Frederick Warne & Co, who had previously rejected the story.

Children's book artist L. Leslie Brooke was commissioned to create the whimsical illustrations for the book, which are as cherished as Potter's words.

From Potter's letter in 1893, a series of the 20th century's most loved children's books were written, including The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck and The Tale of Tom Kitten.

Potter's original The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into 36 languages and 45 million copies have been sold, making it one of the best-selling books around the world ever.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, will be featured in Forum Auctions' Fine Books and Works on Paper on 30th March, 2017. Check out the full catalogue here.

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