By Nate Pedersen, Fine Books & Collections
Four previously unknown Beatrix Potter illustrations were found tucked away in the library at Melford Hall, a Tudor mansion and National Trust property in Suffolk, England.
The drawings focus on interior and exterior scenes of Melford Hall itself, which was frequently visited by Potter between 1899 and 1938 when her cousin Ethel Leech lived there with her husband and three children.
Conservation work unearthed the drawings. House manager Josephine Waters and a colleague were moving bookcases when they discovered the drawings tucked away in some of the old books. Waters immediately recognized Potter’s unique style.
“I am never going to forget it, it was the most amazing moment. It made me catch my breath, a real spine-tingling moment,” Waters said in an interview with the Guardian. “Still now, when I think about it, I get that special feeling. It is the sort of thing you dream of when you are working with a historic collection, that you will discover something new.”
It’s been quite a year for Beatrix Potter fans, with a previously unpublished Potter story set to be released in September, Peter Rabbit showing up on a British coin, and the author’s 150th birthday just around the corner on July 28.
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