Helen Beatrix Potter (1866 -1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservati-onistbest known for her imaginative children's books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which celebrated the British landscape and country life.
Potter was born into a wealthy Unitarian family. She and her younger brother Walter Bertram (1872-1918) grew up with few friends outside their large extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature, and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. Summer holidays were spent away from London, in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.
She was educated by private governesses until she was 18. Her study of languages, literature, science, and history was broad and she was an eager student. Her artistic talents were recognized early. She enjoyed private art lessons and developed her own style, favouring watercolour. She illustrated insects, fossils, archaeolo-gical artifacts, and fungi, along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined.
Potter was also a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation. She continued to write and illustrate, and to design spin-off merchandise based on her children's books for Warne, until the duties of land management and her diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue.
Potter published over 23 books; the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922. She died of pneumonia and heart disease on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey (Lancashire) at age 77, leaving almost all her property to theNational Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.