Helen Beatrix Potter, or better known as Beatrix Potter, was born on July 28 1866. Although she was an English author and illustrator, botanist and conservationist, she was best known for her children's books featuring animal characters that adopted human mannerisms and idiosyncrasies, the most popular being Peter Rabbit.
Born into a privileged family, Miss Potter was educated by governesses, as a result of which she grew up in isolation from other children. An animal-lover, she had numerous pets. She developed a love of landscape and the environment through her holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, all of which is preserved through her beautiful paintings. It is said that she developed her radical ideas on conservation through this early exposure to the natural world.
As a young woman in those days, Miss Potter was strongly discouraged to develop her intellectual abilities by her parents. However, her study and painstaking paintings of fungi led her to be a respected contributor in the field of mycology.
Then, in her thirties, Miss Potter published the highly successful children's book ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’. She them became secretly engaged to her publisher Norman Warne, which caused a disagreement with her parents over his social status. Unfortunately, her fiancée died before the wedding could take place due to poor health.
Miss Potter eventually published 23 children's books in all, making her financially independent of her parents. She was able to buy a farm in the Lake District that, over time became extended with other purchases.
Then, in her forties, Miss Porter married a local solicitor, William Heelis. She eventually became a sheep breeder and farmer, whilst continuing her passion of writing and illustrating children's books.
In 1943, Miss Potter died and left almost all of her property to The National Trust so that the beauty of her beloved Lake District could be preserved just as she had known it, without worry of future developments.
Miss Potter's books continue to sell well throughout the world, and in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold numerous times in various formats, such as films, animation, and even ballet. The latest one is the biographical movie, “Miss Potter", with Renee Zellweger at the helm. The character of Norman Warne was played by Ewan McGregor and that of William Heelis was played by Lloyd Owen.
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