Lot 358
  • 358

Potter, Beatrix

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Potter, Beatrix
  • Two Rabbits with a Sledge in the Snow
94 by 131mm., fine ink and watercolour drawing, signed with initials lower right, framed and glazed, some light spotting and consistent browning

Catalogue Note

In 1890 Beatrix Potter was encouraged by her uncle, Henry Roscoe, to offer some of her artwork for sale. After a packet of designs was rejected by the firm of Marcus Ward, Potter sent them to Hildesheimer and Faulkner who responded with a cheque. Potter noted in her diary for May 1890 that she "worked away at the Sketches much impeded by the criticisms of my relations and a severe bilious attack. I made several more in the style of the first…" (see The Journal of Beatrix Potter 1881-1897, London, 1989, p. 213). Hildesheimer and Faulkner would indeed publish a number of cards with designs by Beatrix Potter and also her first book, A Happy Pair.

This present example, thought to date from this time, concerns the escapades of two rabbits in the snow.

There have been a number of other similar scenes with the snowy doorway and the rabbit’s sledge occurring elsewhere.

The snowy doorway, for example, occurs in a scene showing a rabbit arriving with Christmas presents (National Trust, HIL RD99) and, also, leaving having delivered presents (National Trust, HIL RD120). The National Trust also owns a pencil and watercolour image of a rabbit finding a basket of food on his snowy doorstep (no owner's reference). A version of this was used for Changing Pictures, published by Nister in 1894.

The V&A Museum owns a fine watercolour of four rabbits in the snow, one dressed in a red jacket pulling a sledge (VA1008). There is also a pair of watercolours in the Free Library of Philadelphia (RBD BP ART 10a) showing two rabbits playing with, and then having fallen off, a sledge (see also Sotheby’s, 14 July 2011, lot 143).

Similar scenes have also been available at auction, for example, "Building a Snowman" (Christie's South Kensington, 18 July 2012, lot 714).