When Peter rabbit turned “real”

peter rabbitOK, so she is not my only hero, but I do admit that I’m a fan of Beatrix Potter. There, I said it. I know you’re supposed to pick someone from more popular culture maybe, but I’m revealing a truth here and hey why not.

So, you know who I’m talking about, right? The one and the only creator of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix could definitely be filed under many categories, don’t think she just created one blue jacket wearing rabbit. Nope, she was an astute businesswoman and inventor as well as artist, natural history/scientific illustrator and amateur scientist, not that her discoveries in science were amateur at all. Because you see Beatrix noted aspects of Fungi that counter claimed what had previously been reported by scientists. It was her finely tuned eye for detail which allowed Beatrix to note things others may have missed. Though Potter prepared her findings for presentation, due to being a female, she was not allowed to personally share this documentation to the Linneaus Society.

Self publishing was Beatrix’s way onto the authoring scene. Resorting to printing her own books at first, since she had rejections from about 6 companies. Thankfully, one of those companies ended up changing their mind, and so the story of Peter Rabbit for the mass market began.

peter rabbit patent

She’s also responsible for suggesting to the publisher of her writing, Frederick Warne & Co., that turning the 2D character on paper to a 3Dimensional toy should be the next step in the lineage of Potter productions, that was 2 years after her first published version of the story book. The German company Steiff produced the Toy, but first of all, Beatrix made a version as she saw it and took it to a patent office.

steiffsource Here’s a picture of a pre loved original Steiff Peter Rabbit with details from an auction house. German, 1906, button, black boot button eyes with red felt backing, pink nose stitching, unjointed, brown finely airbrushed velvet body with white under and inner ears, wearing blue felt jacket, yellow embroidered edge, four textured brass buttons to front, two pockets, Chinese-style red pointed toe slipper with leather sole, yellow embroidered edge (one is missing), fabric worn around button, velvet pile missing from diaphragm, jacket holed at left sleeve, three small holes to rear of jacket and under right arm, slightly dirty overall, otherwise Good, 9″/23cm. N.B. A book about the adventures of “Peter Rabbit” was first published in 1902. As a result Beatrix Potter achieved worldwide acclaim – not only illustrating her own book she produced a Peter Rabbit doll – and registered it at a Patent Office in London. Steiff eventually manufactured the accurate representation, right down to his clothing, these were sold initially only in the UK. This Peter Rabbit was bequeathed to the vendor by her Aunt Violet Johnson. Violet was born in Grimsby in 1910. She worked as a children’s nanny for noteable families, initially in London and later Jersey. It is believed that Peter was given to her as a keepsake by one of the families.

Beatrix Potter with Benjamin Bunny

Further Reading

Wikipedia Beatrix Potter


Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature

Hardcover, 584 pages

Published January 9th 2007 by St. Martin’s Press (first published 2006)

original title
Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
0312369344 (ISBN13: 9780312369347)

edition language





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