Lot 256 (Antiques & Collectables, 24th February 2018)

Beatrix Potter Heelis (1866-1943) British An important group of five handwritten letters, four addressed to the regarded agriculturalist Professor James Alec Hanley (b. 1887) and his wife, dating from 16 July 1942 - March 26th 1943, with typed copies of two responses by Professor Hanley, dated 18th March 1943 and 5th April 1943; the fifth letter a handwritten copy by Potter/Heelis of a letter written to Kendal W.G.E.C, alongside a signed photographic portrait of Professor Hanley, dated 1932. The first letter dated July 16th 1942, is addressed to Professor and Mrs. Hanley, and discusses Potter Heelis' availability at home for a visit over coming days, with reference to her exact location '7 miles south of Ambleside, between Hawkshead and The Ferry'. The letter goes on to comment on the availability of buses, stating that if her guests 'reach here I shall be pleased to offer such [eating] as available, mainly lettuces!' One sheet, black ink on lined paper, 17.5 x 11.5 cm, complete in original envelope dressed with stamps, Windermere Westmorland postage marks and addressed 'Mrs. Hanley, Yew Tree Cottage, Applethwaite Keswick. The second letter dated September 22nd, 1942. Commenting on and seeking advice for her potato crop, discussing a 'deplorable' season noting issues with tractors and referencing the conditions of farming in wartime, saying 'this war and famine is not going over quickly' , she also discusses the experience of her tenant farmers, and goes on to quote 'an old saying' "Earth is honest - what you give it - it will repay". Black ink on white paper, 33 x 20 cm (folded). The third and fourth letter dated March 13th, 1943 addressed to Mr Hanley (black ink on paper, 17.5 x 11 cm) is complete with a referenced handwritten copy provided by Heelis of a letter she intends to send to Kendal W.G.E.C, discussing again her potato crop and the conditions of her land, 22.5 x 17 cm. This appears together with a typed copy of the response given by Professor Hanley on March 18th, in which he advises her how best to approach the conditions of her land, referencing his recent visit to her land and his observations. The fifth letter dated March 26th 1943 and addressed to Professor Hanley, thanking him for his carefully thought out letter of March 18th, and going on to discuss the price for lambs etc and an invitation to the next association Therdwick meeting. Black ink, two double sided pages, 17.5 x 11.5 cm; together with a final typed response copy by Professor Hanley, dated 5th April 1943, thanking her for the invitation. All letters written from Potter/Heelis' matrimonial home, Castle Cottage, Sawrey following her move to the lake district in 1913, which sat in a farm over the road from 'Hill Top', her now famed property used by her principally as a retreat and to facilitate business transactions. Castle Cottage was the location in which Potter wrote Johnny Townmouse, reflective of her experiences in this transitional period following her relocation from London to The Lake District, the story focusing on a character who could not quite decide where to call home. Upon her death in 1943, Potter left Castle Cottage, together with 14 other farms and some 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust. These letters are significant as they were penned in the final months of her life, the last of which just 9 months before her death. Helen Beatrix Potter / Heelis was born into a privileged household on the 28th July 1886. Her upbringing involved education by governesses, and isolation from other children with frequent formative visits to the Lake District and Scotland, developing a love for nature, flora and fauna which would go on to influence her life's work. A famed writer, illustrator, naturalist and conservationist, she was first noticed for her talent in study and watercolours in the field of mycology before launching her now famous career writing and illustrating children's stories, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Her works continue to be enjoyed by adults and children alike, generations after her death. She was a successful landowner and farmer, regarded highly for her prize-winning Herdwick flock of sheep, as well as food production during the second World War. Professor James Alec Hanley, (born in Hemsworth, Yorkshire in 1887) was a renowned agriculturalist who advised Potter/Heelis on farming matters, the management of her land, and the land used by her tenant farmers. Hanley was also a renowned writer and reporting academic in the field of agriculture; Grass Land: Its Management and Improvement (with Reginald George Stapledon), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1927, Second report on the development of agriculture and land settlements in Newfoundland, 1939 and Progressive Farming. The Maintenance of High Production : Volume III. Provenance: This collection has been retained by the direct descendants of Professor Hanley until the point of sale, before being consigned to the auctioneers in early 2018.

Sold for £10,000


 

Beatrix Potter Heelis (1866-1943) British An important group of five handwritten letters, four addressed to the regarded agriculturalist Professor James Alec Hanley (b. 1887) and his wife, dating from 16 July 1942 - March 26th 1943, with typed copies of two responses by Professor Hanley, dated 18th March 1943 and 5th April 1943; the fifth letter a handwritten copy by Potter/Heelis of a letter written to Kendal W.G.E.C, alongside a signed photographic portrait of Professor Hanley, dated 1932. The first letter dated July 16th 1942, is addressed to Professor and Mrs. Hanley, and discusses Potter Heelis' availability at home for a visit over coming days, with reference to her exact location '7 miles south of Ambleside, between Hawkshead and The Ferry'. The letter goes on to comment on the availability of buses, stating that if her guests 'reach here I shall be pleased to offer such [eating] as available, mainly lettuces!' One sheet, black ink on lined paper, 17.5 x 11.5 cm, complete in original envelope dressed with stamps, Windermere Westmorland postage marks and addressed 'Mrs. Hanley, Yew Tree Cottage, Applethwaite Keswick. The second letter dated September 22nd, 1942. Commenting on and seeking advice for her potato crop, discussing a 'deplorable' season noting issues with tractors and referencing the conditions of farming in wartime, saying 'this war and famine is not going over quickly' , she also discusses the experience of her tenant farmers, and goes on to quote 'an old saying' "Earth is honest - what you give it - it will repay". Black ink on white paper, 33 x 20 cm (folded). The third and fourth letter dated March 13th, 1943 addressed to Mr Hanley (black ink on paper, 17.5 x 11 cm) is complete with a referenced handwritten copy provided by Heelis of a letter she intends to send to Kendal W.G.E.C, discussing again her potato crop and the conditions of her land, 22.5 x 17 cm. This appears together with a typed copy of the response given by Professor Hanley on March 18th, in which he advises her how best to approach the conditions of her land, referencing his recent visit to her land and his observations. The fifth letter dated March 26th 1943 and addressed to Professor Hanley, thanking him for his carefully thought out letter of March 18th, and going on to discuss the price for lambs etc and an invitation to the next association Therdwick meeting. Black ink, two double sided pages, 17.5 x 11.5 cm; together with a final typed response copy by Professor Hanley, dated 5th April 1943, thanking her for the invitation. All letters written from Potter/Heelis' matrimonial home, Castle Cottage, Sawrey following her move to the lake district in 1913, which sat in a farm over the road from 'Hill Top', her now famed property used by her principally as a retreat and to facilitate business transactions. Castle Cottage was the location in which Potter wrote Johnny Townmouse, reflective of her experiences in this transitional period following her relocation from London to The Lake District, the story focusing on a character who could not quite decide where to call home. Upon her death in 1943, Potter left Castle Cottage, together with 14 other farms and some 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust. These letters are significant as they were penned in the final months of her life, the last of which just 9 months before her death. Helen Beatrix Potter / Heelis was born into a privileged household on the 28th July 1886. Her upbringing involved education by governesses, and isolation from other children with frequent formative visits to the Lake District and Scotland, developing a love for nature, flora and fauna which would go on to influence her life's work. A famed writer, illustrator, naturalist and conservationist, she was first noticed for her talent in study and watercolours in the field of mycology before launching her now famous career writing and illustrating children's stories, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Her works continue to be enjoyed by adults and children alike, generations after her death. She was a successful landowner and farmer, regarded highly for her prize-winning Herdwick flock of sheep, as well as food production during the second World War. Professor James Alec Hanley, (born in Hemsworth, Yorkshire in 1887) was a renowned agriculturalist who advised Potter/Heelis on farming matters, the management of her land, and the land used by her tenant farmers. Hanley was also a renowned writer and reporting academic in the field of agriculture; Grass Land: Its Management and Improvement (with Reginald George Stapledon), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1927, Second report on the development of agriculture and land settlements in Newfoundland, 1939 and Progressive Farming. The Maintenance of High Production : Volume III. Provenance: This collection has been retained by the direct descendants of Professor Hanley until the point of sale, before being consigned to the auctioneers in early 2018.

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