THERE WAS no competing with Harry Potter in the Sotheby’s sale of July 10, and bidding rose to £75,000 for Thomas Taylor’s original illustration for the the book that launched those wizard tales in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but Beatrix Potter did her bit too, as did Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, W. Heath Robinson, E.H. Shepard, Lawson Wood, Ronald Searle, Dr Seuss and others.
In 1927 the National Trust was attempting to buy part of the shore of Lake Windermere and Beatrix Potter helped by sending 50 signed watercolour drawings to Bertha Mahony, editor of Horn Book Magazine in America, for sale at a guinea each – or the dollar equivalent. They sold well and requests for more led to a final donation of £104 to the National Trust, but at Sotheby’s earlier this month, the single example made £18,000 (Heritage).
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