"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.."- Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Tribute to Beatrix

One of these days I remembered wonderful Beatrix with her fantastic books and amazing characters. In our modern world we tend to completely forget the delicacy, tenderness and beauty of nature and small creatures or the innocence of childhood. It takes an incredible talent to create all this beauty , but not only talent. It takes passion to develop such artistic skill. And only a pure heart can love and see these tiny creatures and their beauty and absolutely love them.

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Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.

Born into a privileged Unitarian family she grew up with few friends outside her large, extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. Summer holidays were spent in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.

She was educated by private governesses until she was eighteen. Her study of languages, literature, science and history was broad and she was an eager student. Her artistic talents were recognized early. She had private art lessons, and developed her own style, favouring watercolour. Along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined, she illustrated insects, fossils, archaeological artefacts, and fungi. In the 1890s her mycological illustrations and research on the reproduction of fungi spores generated interest from the scientific establishment. Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit publishing it first privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-colour illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co. She became unofficially engaged to her editor Norman Warne in 1905 despite the disapproval of her parents, but he died suddenly a month later, of leukemia.

Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a tiny village in the English Lake District near Ambleside in 1905, then purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape. In 1913, at the age of 47, she married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead. Potter was also a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. She continued to write, illustrate and design spin-off merchandise based on her children’s books for Warne until the duties of land management and diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue. Potter published over twenty-three books; the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922. She died on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust after preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.

Potter’s books continue to sell throughout the world, in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold in song, film and animation.

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500 words, memyselfandela 2013

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