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She would often write for the amusement and entertainment of family and friends, the most valuable letters being those she wrote for children that included little sketches of the characters who featured in her stories.

Potter wrote from when she was a girl until just a few days before she died in 1943, and although many were destroyed or lost, several thousand of her letters are known about.

The latest discovery is a consignment of letters that has emerged at Maidenhead auction house Dawson’s.

Potter wrote to an esteemed professor of agriculture, James Alec Hanley and his wife, asking for advice on planting, potato crops and what they have may have for lunch. One choice phrase reads that should her guests “reach here I shall be pleased to offer such [eating] as available, mainly lettuces!”.

The consignment comprises five handwritten letters, written by Potter at her home at Castle Cottage, Sawrey, dated 1942-43 plus a signed photograph of Prof Hanley. It had been retained by the direct descendants Hanley and is now coming up for sale in Dawson’s next Antique & Fine Art sale on February 24, with an estimate of £10,000-15,000.