Tuesday, 09 February 2016

Beatrix Potter's unpublished rabbit painting sells for a whole lotta bunny

A BEATRIX Potter rabbit illustration, which was never featured in her published books, has sold for £15,600.

THE TALE OF THE UNNAMED RABBIT: The Beatrix Potter illustration which sold at auction for £15,600 PA Wire

The unnamed rabbit may be less famous than the artist’s much-loved creations Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit, but the watercolour was highly valued at yesterday’s Bonhams sale in Knightsbridge, London.

The painting, in a private collection for more than 50 years and previously unseen at auction, clearly depicts a female rabbit, from the pink ribbon tied daintily around her neck. It was bought by an anonymous UK telephone buyer.

Alexandra Ault, of Bonhams’ watercolours department, said: “Potter’s world was by no means limited to that of Peter Rabbit and his published friends. Just as important are the unnamed little mice, rabbits and cats that appeared in finished water-colours. Their unique charm and the infrequency with which they appear at auction creates a huge demand for this type of Beatrix’s work.”

A Christmas card designed by Potter in 1893, featuring three guinea pigs in a basket, doubled its pre-sale estimate to make £12,600, including the buyer’s premium. Beatrix borrowed guinea pigs for models from her friend, the nursing reformer Mary Paget, and she used them later in Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes, published in 1922.

Although better known for her children’s books, Bonhams said Potter’s earliest commercial works were in fact Christmas cards.


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