Monday, September 8, 2008

The BP Picture Letters lll

The Pre-Raphaelite connection...well it's a bit of a stretch Margaret, but when Beatrix had completed the privately printed Tailor Of Gloucester she sent copies off to friends and acquaintances including the grandchildren of some of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Margaret thank you for your kind note in your last blog. I am having so much fun doing this.
Back to the picture letters. As more children came to Annie Moore so there were more picture letters to write. Many of the children received letters but once the the letters had become the source of material for the books Beatrix came up with a new idea...Miniature letters. Here is a sample

Mrs McGregor, Gardeners Cottage.
Dear Sir,

I write to ask whether yur spring cabbages are ready? Kindly reply by return & oblige.

Yrs. truly,

Peter Rabbit

Master P Rabbit, Under Fir Tree.


I rite by desir of my husband Mr. McGregor who is in Bedd with a Cauld to say if you Comes heer agane we will inform the Polisse.

Jane McGregor
P.S. I have bort a py-Dish, itt is very Large

I had to chuckle when I read these, and there are pages of these in the wonderful book, A History of The Writings of Beatrix Potter by Leslie Linder. If you want to immerse yourself in Potter book lore, this a book for you. A great biography is the one pictured above by Linda Lear, and winner of the Lakeland Book of the Year award.
In most cases the letters were written as from characters in the books. The letters were shaped and folded to represent an envelope, addressed and a tiny stamp drawn on them. Some were posted in a mini mail-bag, others sent in toy boxes.
No wonder then when word got out that Miss Potter was coming for a visit that the Moore children were a buzzing. And Beatrix would delight them. She would bring her pet mice and let them out in the house. She would bring party frocks for the girls and I am sure other presents fro the boys.
Lets have a little break from the letters of BP & as per Willows request I will tell my own story about 'letters'.


acornmoon said...

I like your idea about "Self publishing day" !

This post about the toy letters made me think about a book which my children loved called "The Jolly Postman" by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. That had little letters inside.

As you are a book lover and a fisherman, maybe you would like to visit Rosie has a lovely post about Isaac Walton's cottage.

willow said...

I'm ordering Linda Lear's book from my library right now. Did I already say that? Well, I really am.

Oooo...letters! Looking forward to your next post! :)

willow said...

And speaking of letters, I forgot to mention this book in my post the other day. It's a wonderful book of illustrated letters. I know you would absolutely love it. Here's the link to see it at Amazon:

Margaret said...

The book sounds spectacular--I'll have to pick it up!

There actually is a fairly strong tie to the Pre-Raphaelites--Beatrix Potter's father was actually a good friend of PRB original member, John Millais. Imagine getting to meet members of the PRB as a little girl! I don't think her house was quite as dull as they make it out to be in the movie.

The letters are just charming. I love Mrs. McGregor's spelling!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Don't you wish you knew someone like Beatrix you could ask over for dinner? I'd love to have her visit...even with the mice.

A World Away said...

Celia, Thanks for the link. Yes we will have a self publishing aprecition day.
Willow, letters are coming and thanks for the tip on the correspondance book. Are you aware of Nick Bantocks Griffin & Sabine series?
Margaret, Thanks for the additional info on Millais, probably more relevant. Re spelling I particularly liked the part about the py-Dish.
Pamela Terry and Edward, Yes I would absolutely love to have someone like BP over. Charles Van Sandwyk is pretty entertaining I have to say.