Auctioneers and Appraisers

Beatrix Potter (British, 1866-1943) A Ewe and Lamb Meet a Duckling

Sold for:





American & European Works of Art - 2547B
Date / Time :
May 20, 2011 12:00PM


Beatrix Potter (British, 1866-1943)

A Ewe and Lamb Meet a Duckling
Signed and dated "Beatrix Potter/ July 28, 1924" l.r., with a label from T.W. Norman
Co., Boston, and inscribed "Gift to M... from Mary F. Gill/ Je. 17, 1943/ original drawing by Beatrix Potter given to us by her on her 58th birthday in her home in Sawrey, Westmoreland [sic], England, July 1924" in pen and graphite in Mary F. Gill's hand on the backing.
Ink and graphite on laid paper, sight size 7 1/2 x 5 in. (19.1 x 12.7 cm), framed.
Condition: Minor toning, not examined out of frame.

Provenance: Through the collection of Mary F. Gill, Massachusetts.

N.B. A New Year's greeting card with a reproduced image of Jemima, Peter Rabbit, and Tom Kitten dedicated "[From] Beatrix Potter [To] Mary F. Gill/ New Year 1935/ with good wishes to all at Milton." in pen in Beatrix Potter's hand, accompanies the lot.

We wish to thank Dr. Linda Lear, Beatrix Potter scholar and author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, for her assistance with cataloguing the lot and the following information:

By 1924, Mary F. Gill, a prominent Boston Unitarian, and Beatrix Potter had been corresponding for some years as a result of Gill's activities with "Friendly Links", an organization promoting intellectual exchange between British and American Unitarians. Potter, a life-long Unitarian, invited Gill, along with her sister Rebecca Field, her husband William L.W. Field and their two daughters to visit her in Near Sawrey in July. William Field was then the Headmaster of the prestigious Milton Academy. The Field family became an important link for Potter to an unusually distinguished group of artists and intellectuals in the Boston area all of whom appreciated children's literature and illustration and who visited Beatrix over the next decade. These new acquaintances were each invited to tea at Castle Cottage, allowed to see Potter's portfolios, and in many instances given drawings to take home.

The present drawing belongs to the style of Potter's later work which is loose in form and detail. It was done as a sketch for the back endpaper of Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book (1925). Undoubtedly Beatrix had a duplicate unused drawing of the endpaper and inscribed it to Gill on the occasion of her visit which coincided with Potter's 58th birthday.

The National Trust holds a duplicate of this drawing which is catalogued as a drawing for the back endpaper of Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book under the title "Ewe and Lamb meet a Duckling." This exact drawing is reproduced in Beatrix Potter's Americans: Selected Letters. edited by Jane Crowell Morse. (1982):142. Linda Lear discusses Potter's friendship with Mary Gill, the Fields, and the Boston artistic community in Beatrix Potter: a Life in Nature (2007):315ff.

Estimate $7,500-8,500


Beatrix Potter, Mary F. Gill, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Linda Lear, United Kingdom, Massachusetts, Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, William L.W. Field, Rebecca Field, Headmaster, Milton Academy, Castle Cottage, National Trust, Jane Crowell Morse, Edwardian era, Fabulists, Potter