Beatrix Potter/Banner material
Lot 27
Sold for £4,800 (US$ 8,067) inc. premium
Lot Details
Papers of the sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos and her husband, the painter Delmar Banner, comprising letters by Beatrix Potter and Lake District views by Banner, the collection including two autograph letters signed by Beatrix Potter ("Beatrix Heelis") to Mrs Banner, written in 1938 and 1939: in the first letter lamenting the decline of the "old strong honestly made handcrafts" ("...Labour-saving and laziness are nearly allied. It seems impossible to find apprentice blacksmiths now – The smithy in this village is closed; and not for want of work. There are still a few good wheelwrights left; but I observe with disgust the increasing use of rubber motor tyres on carts and wheel barrows. They offer some advantages, but no one can call them lovely on a farm horse-drawn cart..."); and offering strongly-held views on the spontaneity of children and true art: "That was a charming letter, with the naive plan of a child's garden; a garden very suitable for Benjamin Bunny. Its curious how graphic children can be, up to a certain age, and then they lose it, or it is wiped out by teaching. A shepherd's child about 5 years old showed me a remarkable crayon scribble of two lambs (by the way Pigwig she had drawn them correctly with long tails) – remarkable capering lambs kicking up the heels [corrected from heelis]. I asked for another specimen. Now six months later she gives me a 'picture' done at school; outline traced from an elaborate scene in Kate Greenaway style, little boy & girl, cottage etc all carefully coloured; and consigned to the fire by me"; the second written in November 1939 ("...It has been a most lovely autumn for those who had leisure to enjoy the beauty of the peaceful valleys and fells...Its not a cheerful time. A most peculiar war; for those of us who lived through the last one, it seems different; 'bad to reckon up' as the saying is. And everything in a muddle. There is no use thinking, keep working"; together with an autograph New Year's greeting for 1936, and related correspondence, including a letter to Mrs Banner from Frederick Warne's discussing the possibility of a biography, 4 letters from Leslie Linder etc.; plus nine watercolours and one oil by Delmar Banner of Lake District views, the Potter letters 6 pages, slightly foxed, 8vo; the watercolours and oil on paper mounts captioned with details of the view, two dated 1931 and 1949, each about 130 x 180mm.


  • "A CHILD'S GARDEN; A GARDEN VERY SUITABLE FOR BENJAMIN BUNNY": Beatrix Potter on spontaneity in art, and the decline of rural handcrafts. The recipient of these fine letters was the distinguished sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos (1904-2005), who is perhaps best-known for her sculpture Reconciliation, casts of which are to be found in Coventry Cathedral, Hiroshima, Stormont Castle and the Berlin Wall. She was married to the painter and lay Anglican priest, Delmar Banner (1896-1983), the 'Pigwig' of these letters, who in 1938 painted the well-known portrait of Beatrix Potter in her role as a Lake District sheep farmer, now in the National Portrait Gallery.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this lot is available to view in the Department
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