Who is the mystery bunny who loves tea? And why didn't she get her own story? The watercolour of a girl rabbit with a pink ribbon tied daintily around her neck has left experts puzzled. The subject of this highly-finished painting never appeared in any of Beatrix Potter's rabbit tales. It has been in a private UK collection for the past fifty years.
Cropped version of the unknown watercolour.
Uncropped version of the unknown watercolour.
Lot No: 275
Beatrix Potter (British, 1866-1943)
The little bunny drinking tea
signed 'H.B.P.' (lower right)
12.5 x 10cm (4 15/16 x 3 15/16in)
Sold for £15,600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
Provenance: A private UK collection for over fifty years.
The present lot was not published in any of Potter's childrens books. It exists in another version with contains exactly the same components except that the animal is a kitten, rather than a bunny. This reflects Potter’s practice of making a number of versions of her pictures and experimenting with poses and props. The version which depicts the kitten is much sketchier than the present lot which suggests that Potter found the composition with the bunny far more satisfactory. The version depicting the kitten was painted circa 1895 and was originally offered to Ernest Nisbet (see Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Beatrix Potter The artist and her world (Warne 1987), p. 58). Another press release regarding this sale.
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