Four Beatrix Potter watercolour Christmas cards, recently discovered in a Wiltshire attic, will be sold by Highworth, Swindon auctioneers Kidson-Trigg on September 20. The cards have been consigned by descendants of the original recipients, Elizabeth (1888-1977) and Elinor (1886-1979) Lupton.
'The Misses Luptons' (neither ever married) shared great
grandparents with Beatrix Potter (1866-1943). Tied by family and
the chapel community, the artist was also drawn to their poignant
story. The two sisters, part of an influential family who at one
stage owned five mills in Leeds, had lost their mother Harriet in
childbirth and were raised by their governess, Miss Corfield,
'Corfie' until their late teens.
The four cards from this early Potter correspondence that have
survived were literally an attic find - discovered in a brown
envelope in a trunk among boxes hoarded by descendants of the
Lupton sisters. They are, say the auctioneers, superbly
The earliest, depicting a mouse opening a larder door, dates from
1890, when a 24-year-old Beatrix Potter had received her first
commission and a cheque for £6 from the greeting card publishers
Hildesheimer and Faulkner. Another of mice eating Christmas pudding
at a table is signed With best wishes for Christmas from Beatrix
Potter. Dec.93, the year Potter famously began to write the first
adventures of a rabbit called Peter and a hedgehog called Mrs
Tiggy-Winkle in a series of letters to Noel Moors, the sickly child
of a governess. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was not published until
December 1901 in an edition of 250 copies.
Rabbits feature in the two other discoveries: rabbits playing in
the snow with a sledge, signed in ink HBP 94 and rabbits and
bunnies (kittens) on bicycles, signed H.B.P. Christmas 1895.
The cards are expected to fetch £10,000-15,000 each.
Contact 01793 861000.
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