Rare, signed Beatrix Potter illustrations cross the block Feb. 13


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SAN FRANCISCO – Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to offer an original drawing featuring five vignettes by famed children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter during the Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction Feb. 13, 2011.

The piece (shown above) by Potter, circa 1893, depicts a guinea pig grooming and dressing (est. $12,000-$18,000). At least three of the rare illustrations were redone in 1895 for Potter’s nursery rhyme, “The Amiable Guinea Pig,” which was published in "Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes" in 1917.

Potter is considered one of the best-selling children’s book authors of all time. She is known for her books that tell the tales of lessons learned by small animals and creatures in botanical settings. Some of her most notable works include The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tailor of Gloucester, and The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.

Potter was born in 1866 in London and was educated at home. She developed keen interests in art and writing, and studied fungi (the subject of much of her art work). Her drive to create illustrations and pair them with stories brought her great success when she took on The Tale of Peter Rabbit, in her thirties. Potter later became a sheep breeder and farmer, while continuing to pen works, before her passing in 1943.

Another rare delight in the Feb. 13 sale is a signed, original mixed media on cardstock cover design by Dr. Seuss, for the book, You’re Only Old Once! The piece, estimated to bring $20,000 to $30,000, featuring a bearded elderly man, is a preliminary design for Seuss’s 1986 work.

The illustrated auction catalog for the Fine Arts & Manuscripts Sale is available online.

More from Antique Trader and the Web

Beatrix Potter illustrations in slideshow

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