Secret Beatrix Potter Drawings Found Hidden in Books at Melford Hall

National Trust/Melford Hall on Facebook
National Trust/Melford Hall on Facebook / National Trust/Melford Hall on Facebook

Beloved author and illustrator Beatrix Potter passed away more than 70 years ago, but her legacy continues to grow in 2016, thanks to the discovery of unpublished works. Earlier this year, a previously unseen manuscript from 1914 was published for the first time, and now Artnet reports that four of Potter's illustrations were recently found hidden inside the pages of books at the National Trust's Melford Hall.

The line drawings capture a doorway, bedroom, fireplace, and rooftop and were discovered during a conservation project at the estate. Potter was a frequent guest of Melford Hall and the property still belongs to her relatives, the Hyde Parker family. According to the National Trust website, Potter often sought out her cousin at the Hall and those visits are documented with guestbook signatures and sketches. Still, no one thought that her work would have been secretly resting in the house all of these years.

"I was moving a bookcase together with a colleague, and whilst we were going through some of the books we discovered a drawing tucked inside, it was classic Potter style and we immediately knew it was one of hers," house manager Josephine Waters said.

Waters is credited with finding three of the drawings, while Lady Hyde Parker discovered the fourth. "It was an absolutely spine-tingling moment," Waters added. "I remember all the hairs on the back on my neck stood up as we realised what we’d found. Working with a collection like this, it was a dream come true."

An exhibition of the rare drawings will open at Melford Hall on July 13 and run through the last week in October. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Potter's birth, and the exhibition is just one of several events that the National Trust has planned for the occasion. 

[h/t Artnet]

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