05:00PM, Monday 12 February 2018
Rare letters hand written by Beatrix Potter are expected to fetch more than £10,000 at Dawson’s Auctioneers.
The auctioneers on the King Grove Estate has a collection of five letters from the British author and illustrator, best known for her children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The letters, with typed responses, are addressed to 20th century professor of agriculture James Alec Hanley.
He advised Potter, writing in her married name of Heelis, on the management of her farmland in the Lake District.
Dawson’s auctioneer and valuer Joseph Trinder said: “This is an exciting discovery as such an important collection is rarely offered for sale.
“The auction will provide collectors from around the world with an opportunity to own pieces of history personal to one of our greatest loved literary figures.”
The letters, dating from July 1942-March 1943 and show the difficulties in farming in wartime Britain.
At the time, Beatrix Potter was trying to produce potatoes and vegetables and talks about ‘this war and famine’.
They show a lighter side, including directions for Mr Hanley and his wife to visit her in her Lake District home and that lunch will be ‘mostly lettuce’.
Mr Trinder added: “This collection was discovered as we removed antiques and works of art for sale from a country house in rural Wiltshire.
“The letters have excellent provenance, coming from the direct descendants of Professor Hanley.”
They will be auctioned off on February 24 with pre-sale estimate of £10,000-£15,000.
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