The other day I watched a movie called "Miss Potter".
The credits said:- MISS POTTER is the enchanting, inspiring tale of one woman's quest for happiness, love and artistic acceptance.
Beatrix Potter was played by Renee Zellweger and I thought it was a great portrayal. Briefly the story went like this. Beatrix was mind set on getting her book "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" published. It eventually happened with some reluctance by the publishing company and they sort only to humour Beatrix. They never believed it would be taken seriously by the general public. As it happens, the man assigned to be her publisher Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor in the movie) believed in the book.
As with all love stories Beatrix fell in love with Norman and they became unofficially engaged due to the fact that her parents disapproved of Norman because he was only a 'tradesman'. By this time Beatrix was 32 years old and regarded a spinster, yet very much under the control of her parents. Since Beatrix had rejected all the appropriate suitors her mother had chosen and approved, her parents had determined she would not marry.
After much arguing about Norman and her intended marriage, Beatrix agreed to go away for the summer months to Scotland with her parents with the understanding that on her return she would marry Norman. Her mother was hoping the time away would cool Beatrix yearnings, but it was quite the opposite.
During this period away, Beatrix received a letter saying her darling Norman was quite ill. She raced back to London only to find she was too late. Norman had died and the funeral had been the day before she arrived. Naturally Beatrix was grief stricken for a long time and only found solace in her illustrations and writing.
The upside of all this was that "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" was a huge success. As she was now independently rich , Beatrix bought a house in the country where she lived happily ever after and some eight years later married an old friend and lawyer, William Heelis. Read more about Miss Potter here.
|This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.|
|Born||28 July 1866|
Kensington, London, England
|Died||22 December 1943 (aged 77)|
Near Sawrey, Cumbria, England
|Occupation||Children's author and illustrator|
|Notable work(s)||The Tale of Peter Rabbit|
I remember reading "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to my children when they were one month old. I don't know if it really did them any good, but it was heaven for me to sit quietly and read to them while they slept. To hear their quiet breathing and smell their beautiful baby smells is a lasting memory. Neither my boys are voracious readers, but they're doing quite well in the world, making it successfully through University. So at some point their reading prowess paid off. Well I just love to read and this movie about Beatrix Potter and her gorgeous Peter Rabbit just made my day. I'm off to re-read all her stories.
“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”
- A C Grayling, Financial Times (in a review of A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel)