Rare Beatrix Potter letters sell for £10,000

Posted in: News on February 28, 2018.

At the Dawson’s February Art & Antiques auction in Maidenhead, Berkshire, a group of previously unseen letters written by Beatrix Potter made an impressive £10,000 plus buyers premium. Discovered by auctioneer Joseph Trinder whilst advising a family in Wiltshire, the letters were correspondence between their grandfather and Beatrix in the war years 1942 and 1943. Following extensive pre-sale media coverage, locally and nationally, the winning bid was secured over the telephone.

The five letters are all addressed to the renowned professor of Agriculture, James Alec Hanley. The correspondence refers to a comparatively little-known element of her life as a farmer, land owner, and conservationist in the Lake District. Potter writes to Hanley as she farms the land in wartime, outlining the frustrations which this brought, seeking his advice and guidance.

The letters were sold with excellent provenance, having been retained by the direct descendants of Professor Hanley since he took receipt of them in the 1940’s.

The sale of this collection reflects a very rare occurrence as so few of her letters are still in private hands yet to be exposed to the market.

Dawson’s Auctioneer and valuer Joseph Trinder commented: These letters are incredibly rare due to both their provenance and secondly their subject matter which touches upon a part of Potter’s life that is far less known when compared to her literary career. They provide a unique and very human insight into one of our best-loved figures of the 20th century. Selling for £12,400 after buyer’s premium, we are delighted with this result as the collection stays in the UK with a London-based buyer.


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