The Tale of Pigling Bland

With Two Autograph letters to Ruxton

POTTER, Beatrix

INSCRIBED ASSOCIATION COPY WITH CORRESPONDENCE INSCRIBED "PETER RABBIT"

POTTER, Beatrix The Tale of Pigling Bland With Two Autograph letters to Ruxton

F. Warne & Co., 1913.

First edition. Maroon paper covered boards with lettering in white. Rectangular colour onlay to upper cover. Author's presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half title, "For Barbara Ruxton/ with love from/ Beatrix Heelis." Pictorial endpapers and fifteen colour illustrations with lots of additional line drawings in the text. A near fine copy with just trivial wear to the spine ends.

Barbara Ruxton, the daughter of a Newcastle doctor, first met Beatrix Potter in August 1911 at the age of 12, when her family were holidaying with cousins in the Lake district and were invited for tea at Hill Top. Potter, who enjoyed writing to children, sent a occasional letters and a copy of Timmy Tiptoes as a Christmas present. In the summer of 1913 Potter invited Barbara and her cousin Augusta (Gussie) to stay with her at Castle Cottage. At the time Potter was working feverishly to finish the illustrations to Pigling Bland before her impending wedding to William Heelis in October. According to a report in Judy Taylor's Letters to Children, Potter showed Barbara a drawing of the pig Alexander shaking hands with the farm cockerel, bemoaning the fact that she would have to redraw it after placing the cockerel too high on the page. "Why don't you put him standing on a plant saucer?" proposed Barbara, which is exactly how the drawing appears on p.21 of the book.
The two letters accompanying this book are among the very few which survive the months immediately following her marriage. In November, she writes from Bolton Gardens enclosing the inscribed Pigling Bland, saying that she is sending her the book now and not at Christmas "because I happen to be in London & I am posting my book off instead of carting them up to Sawrey... I haven't got one spare for Gussie - I hope she wont be jealous!". The letter is signed "Peter Rabbit", a moniker occasionally used when writing to children, but usually only in her 'miniature letters'.
After Christmas, Potter writes again, thanking Barbara for a basket she appears to have woven and sent to Potter as a Christmas gift. She mentions spending Christmas in Appleby with "my new relations" and that she is about to go "back to London to see my parents". She also mentions the alterations she is making to Castle Cottage, "it has been such an awful mess. The new rooms are nothing like built yet, & the old part has been all upset with breaking doors in the wall & taking out partitions... I think workmen are very slow."
She adds as a postscript, "Be sure to come & call when you are in the neighbourhood again, any time of day, perhaps I am oftenest to be found in the morning"
Pigling Bland was written and published at a pivotal and excessively busy time in Potter's life. Many of the reasons are referred to in these two simple letters to a young friend. She had just got married, bought a new house which required renovation and had decided to devote the remainder of her life to farming. In her mind she had ceased to be Beatrix Potter the author and had become Beatrix Heelis the farmer. It is possibly for this reason that so very few copies of the first edition seem to exist with authorial inscriptions. Besides Potter's own marked up dummy, only one other copy (inscribed to Potter's cousin, sold 1999) has appeared at auction in the last 50 years.

PROVENANCE; Barbara Ruxton; Mary Young (NY collector, exhibited Grolier Club, 2001/2).

Judy Taylor - Letters to Children, p.160 (reproduces both letters)

Stock ID: 40220

£13,500.00

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