Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rabbits' Christmas Party | Beatrix Potter Watercolors Auctioned in London . . .

I hope you have as much fun at all of your Christmas parties as these Beatrix Potter rabbits are having at theirs.

The Rabbits' Christmas Party - 'The Arrival'
Sold at Sotheby's London July 18, 2008 ~ £121,250


The Rabbits' Christmas Party - Roasting Apples
This painting was not in the auction.
It is in the
Victoria & Albert Museum.

This is one of a set of four watercolours by Beatrix Potter showing the successive stages of a Christmas party. Here the rabbits are roasting apples on the hearth. These pictures were given to Beatrix Potter's aunt, Lady Roscoe, wife of Sir Henry Roscoe. The date of these watercolours is unknown although the series pre-dates the publication of the 'Tale of Peter Rabbit' in 1901 when Beatrix had begun publishing some of her rabbit drawings as Christmas cards.

This painting is in the movie "Miss Potter" (one of my all-time favorites). She painted it as a Christmas present for Norman Warne, her publisher (and more). I won't give you any more information. Click on my link for Miss Potter and watch a trailer of this wonderful movie. Why not give a DVD to someone on your Christmas list? I have a request for this perfect gift on mine. I hope Santa remembers.


The Rabbits' Christmas Party - Dancing to a Piper
Sale Price - £22,500

The finished watercolour shows eight rabbits (compared to seven as present here) dancing to a piper. Rhubarb stalks are present in a large pot in the upper left corner. The rhubarb and pot are shown here in faint pencil outline. The floor was changed from evenly laid pinkish terracotta tiles to rather haphazard grey flagstone tiles. this version is entirely unknown.The scene was later redrawn with a rabbit playing a 'cello surrounded by five dancing rabbits (and two rabbits nuzzling each other by the back wall).In 1987 Frederick Warne united the four V&A illustrations with the two paintings originally given to Henry P. Coolidge. A fold-out panorama was published as The Rabbits' Christmas Party.


The Rabbits' Christmas Party - 'The Departure'
Sold - £289,000

Multiply 2x for price in US dollars.
On that date 1 British Pound = $2.00 US.


Beatrix Potter’s Christmas rabbits fetch £289,000 at Sotheby's
July 18, 2008 - London:
A previously unseen watercolour by Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) fetched £289,500 at auction yesterday, a record for a book illustration.


The painting, depicting rabbits leaving a Christmas party, was the final piece of a trio painted by Potter, in about 1892. It was sold to a private collector at Sotheby’s in London for nearly five times its upper estimate.

The first in the series - showing five rabbits swathed in overcoats - fetched £121,250 and it was originally given to Potter’s aunt, Lucy, the wife of Sir Henry Roscoe.

The third painting, which shows guests dancing, sold for £22,500
.

The watercolours formed part of an archive of illustrations, Christmas cards and letters that fetched £748,200 in total. The archive originated from the collection of Potter’s brother, Bertram, who encouraged his sister’s early efforts to sell her artwork. Potter painted the watercolours more than nine years before paying to have 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit printed in December 1901 after rejections from at least six publishers.


She gave many of them away to friends, and sold the rest for 1s 2d (less than 6p), although they are now worth in the region of £30,000.

Potter invented the character Peter Rabbit in an illustrated letter to the child of her former governess in 1893. It remains the world’s bestselling children’s book, with more than 80 million copies in circulation.


Other paintings include cats, horses, bears, deer and cows, and the collection includes private Christmas cards depicting rabbits painted by Potter for her friends and to illustrate first-edition books and letters to relatives.


The 3 photos with black outlines courtesy BibliOdyssey.

Footnote:
Hobbs, in the Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibition catalogue, noted "The attitudes are both rabbit-like and human. Only an artist with an intimate knowledge of anatomy could convey so well both musculature and the texture of fur. Remarkable, as in all Potter's animal drawing, is her observation of ears."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful paintings!

Millie said...

What a fabulous post Rosemary - it's made my heart sing! I've always had such a fondness for Miss Potter's work. She made it so easy to feel as though you could step into the pages & join in the family's adventures.
Millie ^_^

mary said...

Love your post - just found your blog and look forward to following

靖雯 said...

this is awesome rosemary. i am a big fan of beatrix potter as well, and i've made my room's wall painted with peter n mrs rabbit.u may check it out at my blog http://www.jinwern.blogspot.com
merry christmas!!