Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known life and work in the North Lakes will come under the spotlight this autumn, with a special exhibition at her former holiday home near Keswick.
The famous children’s author and illustrator spent ten summer holidays at the Lingholm Estate between1885 and 1907, not only writing Squirrel Nutkin and the first manuscript of Mrs TiggyWinkle there, but also using Lingholm’s original kitchen garden as the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
From 1 September – 30 November 2019, Lingholm’s Victorian-style walled garden and greenhouse will be the venue for a small collection of rarely seen prints and information panels loaned by The National Trust and Wordsworth House and Garden.
That includes a giant print of the ONLY photo still in existence which depicts Potter painting out in the landscape; it was taken on St Herbert’s Island on Derwentwater in 1886, on one of her summer stays at Lingholm.
It’s expected the free exhibition will be a particular draw to international visitors, with the enduring appeal of Beatrix Potter proving to be a major lure for Japanese and Chinese tourists – combined with the prestige of the Lake District’s World Heritage Status.
Estate Director Jenny Seymour says, “People tend to associate Beatrix Potter with locations like Far Sawrey and Windermere, but she actually spent large chunks of the early life in the North Lakes.
“This collection tells the story of her life in the late teens and early twenties, before she moved to the Lakes permanently but at a time when she was still learning about nature and developing her own thoughts and ideas about the world around her. We are hoping it will offer a unique historical insight into the writer’s life and inspiration, and give visitors something off the traditional Beatrix Potter tourist trail.”
Zoe Gilbert, Visitor Experience Manager at Wordsworth House and Garden says, “We’re delighted to loan this exhibition to Lingholm. It has been really inspiring to see what a passion the Lingholm team have developed for Beatrix Potter and the love and care they have put into conserving this special place that gave her so much inspiration. Potter’s images of the North Lakes landscapes are a beautiful backdrop to the iconic stories and it’s not as well-known that many of her famous tales were based here.”
The Walled Garden at Lingholm sits alongside an artisan bakery, café and shop. 2019 marks three years since the unveiling of the £1million development by Lingholm’s owners, the Seymour family.