Two original Benjamin Bunny paintings by Beatrix Potter are expected to see strong results in a June 21 sale in Cirencester, UK.
Beatrix Potter was one of Britain's best-loved children's authors, known for her brilliantly illustrated animal stories, which intially began as postcards to friends in the late 1890s. These charming sketches would later develop into her renowned series of books, which were created up until the first world war.
The Potter paintings at auction are based on the illustrations from her first book, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, which was published in 1904. They were among 11 illustrations from the book given by Potter to the Townley Family in 1913, as thanks for letting her stay at their home, Hardcragg Hall in Cumbria, UK. Hardcragg Hall would later serve as inspiration for Potter's The Tale of Pigling Bland, which she dedicated to the Townley children, Charlie and Cicely.
The charming framed paintings both depict the tale's main characters, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. The first shows the pair stood outside Mrs Rabbit's burrow, and in the second both characters are looking out over Mr McGregor's garden. Each of the works has a handwritten extract from Potter beneath. The single lot is expected to bring between £12,000 and £18,000.
The two artworks will be followed by a unique collection of miniature figures based on Potter's characters, created by Anna Awdry in the early 1960s. The hand-painted collection was commissioned by Awdry's friend and Beatrix Potter bibliographer, Leslie Linder, and were permanently displayed at her home. Sold as one lot, they are expected to bring £10,000-15,000.
A sequence of Beatrix Potter vignettes from 1893 brought $85,000 in 2011, highlighting the fact that the much-loved items from our childhoods also provide sound investments in later years.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a beautiful sketch of Winne the Pooh, which was drawn and autographed by creator EH Shepard. See more of our stunning signed children's illustrations here.