Three guinea pigs in a basket (a design for a Christmas card, 1893) watercolour 23 x 15cm (9 1/16 x 5 7/8in). (unframed)
Provenance: A private UK collection for over fifty years.
Beatrix Potter's earliest commercial works were Christmas cards in 1890. As a result of the success of her first efforts, she began producing more cards for the publishers Hildesheimer & Faulkner in 1891. The present lot is a small design for a Christmas card of three guinea pigs in a basket (1893). Potter made at least two versions of this scene, with the guinea pigs in different poses and a blank space on the basket for a message in one (see Ann Stevenson Hobbs et al., Beatrix Potter The artist and her world (Warne 1987) p. 79). She borrowed guinea pigs for models from her friend Miss Paget, the nursing reformer, and she used them later in Cecily Parsleys Nursery Rhymes (1922).