Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The greatest pearls of life wisdom from Beatrix Potter

beatrix potter books.jpg

She’s the woman who brought us Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and – of course – Peter.

Beatrix Potter remains one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators, whose stories of farmyard animals have lit up the youth of many.

Alongside her magical books, Potter was an environmentalist and botanist – whose enduring love for nature can be felt in every word she wrote – at a time when it was incredibly rare for women to flourish in this way.

Born in 1866, Potter was home-schooled and taught herself to draw and paint, later studying natural history at home. By 27, Potter had written what was set to be one of the most popular children’s books of all time: The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Today, over two million Potter books are sold worldwide, every year, which amounts to about one every fifteen seconds.

Here, we recount some of her wisest words. . .   

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter, 1866-1943

On creativity:

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.”

“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”

“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” 

On education:

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”

beatrix potter

On Success:

“Most people, after one success, are so cringingly afraid of doing less well that they rub all the edge off their subsequent work.” 

“I am aware these little books don't last long even if they are a success.”

On well-being:

“All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.”

“What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood?” 

beatrix potter

Five things you didn’t know about Beatrix Potter

  • Later in life Potter became an award-winning sheep farmer
  • She kept a journal written in secret code which was only cracked in 1958
  • The author originally wrote the story of Peter Rabbit in a letter to her ex-governess’ son, Noel, to cheer him up when he was ill. "My dear Noel, I don’t know what to write to you so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits  whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton--‐tail and Peter."
  • When Potter first wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she sent the manuscript to six publishers, and received six rejections
  • Potter was a keen letter-writer and would send pictures to her young fans using miniature mail bags and a tiny tin post box

Related

winnie-the-pooh.jpg

Winnie the Pooh is Britain's favourite children's book character

BP_1-5-COVER-REVEAL-twitter-TEXT.jpg

Beatrix Potter stories have been given a high-fashion makeover

roald.jpg

Lucy Mangan explores our enduring love of Roald Dahl

woman with book.jpeg

The 50 most moving lines in literature

charhero2.jpg

100 best opening lines from children's books

beatrix-potter-kitty-boots-penguin-book.jpg

10 favourite childhood reads as chosen by Stylist staff

images.jpg

The 20 best snippets of relationship wisdom from children’s books

cornwall.jpg

Britain's most enticing literary haunts to visit

hbo-girls-lena-dunham.jpg

20 quotes to get you through if you're freaking out about the future

Comments

More

Bookstagrammers: the Insta tribe keeping it real on social media

They're not in it for money or exposure

by Anna Brech
26 May 2017

Blake Lively is set to star in her own version of Big Little Lies

Get ready for The Husband's Secret, everybody...

by Kayleigh Dray
26 May 2017

Watch: Anna Kendrick reveals her favourite female writers

"They have written these beautiful, funny, wonderful books.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 May 2017

Why you should keep a list of every book you’ve ever read

An act of honesty in a 'fake' digital age

by Anna Brech
25 May 2017

UK publisher launches new imprint to address diversity in books

Fewer than 100 books written by non-white British authors were published last year

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 May 2017

Emily Browning slams Twilight series as “emotionally abusive”

Aussie actor was Stephenie Meyer’s first pick to play Bella

by Joe Ellison
16 May 2017

Here’s how you can (legally) watch The Handmaid’s Tale in the UK

We finally have the answer

by Kayleigh Dray
16 May 2017

These are the books you need to read, according to female TED speakers

12 inspirational tomes to add to your reading list

by Sarah Biddlecombe
15 May 2017

Two brilliant word-of-mouth books to pop on your summer reading list

Load up your Kindle, pronto

by Anna Brech
10 May 2017

Book lovers, this is what your reading habits say about you

Good news for drama and romance fans

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 May 2017