The Frist Art Museum presents Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature, the first exhibition to tell the broader life story of the beloved English author and illustrator. Organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum — home to the world’s largest collection of Potter’s artworks — the exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from April 7 through September 17, 2023.
In the classic children’s storybook The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first self-published in London in 1901, and 22 other children’s books, Potter imagined an enchanting world of animals and gardens. She became one of the most successful author-illustrators of the 20th century and also defied expectations for women of her time by engaging in scientific studies, farming, and land conservation.
About Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature
Presented in a playful and colorful family-friendly installation, Drawn to Nature features rarely seen objects, including personal letters, photographs, books, diaries, decorative arts, sketches and watercolors that explore the inspirations behind Potter’s stories and characters. The engaging in-gallery interpretation text includes special labels designed for children. Two cozy carpeted areas in the galleries—one with oversized flowerpots and another with giant spools of thread for seats—invite guests to read Potter’s stories surrounded by her drawings and watercolors.
The presentation at the Frist is complemented by experiential learning activities in the Martin ArtQuest® Gallery, including writing illustrated letters, drawing objects found in gardens, playing in a puppet theater and creating animations with flora and fauna.
Based on scholarship about Potter’s life and work, the exhibition reveals that her books emerged from her passion for nature and were just one of her major legacies. “From storyteller to natural scientist and conservationist, Beatrix Potter lived a truly remarkable and multifaceted life,” says Frist Art Museum senior curator Trinita Kennedy. “Through interactive features, video, and engaging prompts in every gallery, this exhibition invites guests of all ages to explore the full breadth of Potter’s work and life.
“We hope this exhibition will inspire natural scientists, conservationists, and farmers as well as artists and storytellers,” says Annemarie Bilclough, Frederick Warne Curator of Illustration at the V&A. “Potter’s story shows that through talent, passion, and perseverance, life can take unexpected twists and turns and great things can grow from inconsequential beginnings.”
For more information about Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature, click here.