A rare collection of Beatrix Potter letters is to sell in a Berkshire auction house later this month.
The letters, all hand-written correspondence by the much-loved British author and illustrator of such classics as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, are addressed to renowned Professor of Agriculture James Alec Hanley. In them, Potter, writing in her married name of Heelis, asks the professor’s advice on the management of her farmland in the Lake District.
Hanley’s typed responses are also included in the sale’s lot.
The letters demonstrate the difficulties of farming during wartime, as the author toils to produce potatoes and other food for the war effort. Potter records her frustrations with “this war and famine”, alongside other farming matters and land management.
Elsewhere, the letters reveal the author’s lighter side, as she sends Hanley and his wife directions to her home, along with the provision of lunch consisting of “mostly lettuce” in reference to the exploits of her character Peter Rabbit.
Dawson’s auctioneer and valuer Joseph Trinder commented, “This is an exciting discovery as such an important collection is rarely offered for sale. The auction will provide collectors from around the world with an opportunity to own pieces of history personal to one of our greatest loved literary figures.”
The sale takes place on February 24.