Sotheby's, 6/7 June 1990, lot 457; Chris Beetles Gallery (label); Pasquale Iannetti Art Galleries (San Francisco) (label)
This watercolour was reproduced in Beatrix Potter Studies IX (Beatrix Potter Society, 2001) on p. 41.
In a picture-letter sent to Freda Moore on 30 July 1898, Beatrix Potter describes a snail's nest and the hatching of eggs. The date of this watercolour suggests that it originates from the artist's observation of this event.
In 1905 Beatrix Potter and her publishers considered publication of a book of rhymes (see Linder pp.225-239). The project would eventually be postponed until 1917 with publication of Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes. An abandoned rhyme commences:
There was an old snail with a nest -
Who very great terror expressed,
Lest the wood-lice all round
In the cracks under-ground
Should eat up her eggs in that nest!
Anne Stevenson Hobbs in her article 'Context and Content: Working on Beatrix Potter's Art' in Beatrix Potter Studies IX (Beatrix Potter Society, 2001) notes that a 'twin to this design, also dated July 1898 and with a very similar composition... was included in the 1966 Philadelphia exhibition, but does not belong to the Free Library collection'. That piece is currently lost.
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