POTTER, BEATRIX. 1866-1943.
"THERE ONCE WAS AN AMIABLE GUINEA-PIG...."
Original watercolor drawings on paper, 6 3/4 x 8 inches, signed ("H.B.P."), [February], 1893, being a series of 5 vignettes of a guinea pig grooming and dressing, matted and framed, minor edgewear to paper, several tiny repairs to extremities not affecting images, lightly toned, excellent.
This sequence of 5 vignettes was drawn in 1893 and three of them redone years later for "The Amiable Guinea-pig" from Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes, first published in 1917. Potter's journal entry for February 5th, 1893 recounts:
"I went to the Pagets somewhat guilty. This comes of borrowing other people's pets. Miss Paget has an infinite number of guinea-pigs. First I borrowed and drew Mr. Chopps. I returned him safely. Then in an evil hour I borrowed a very particular guinea pig with a long white ruff, known as Queen Elizabeth. This PIG - offspring of Titwillow the Second, descendent of the Sultan of Zanzibar, and distantly related to a still more illustrious animal named the Light of Asia - this wretched pig took to eating blotting paper, pasteboard, string and other curious substances and expired in the night... I suspected something was wrong and intended to take it back, My feelings may be imagined when I found it extended a damp - very damp disagreeable body. Miss Paget proved peaceable, I gave her the drawing."
"The Amiable Guinea-pig" is among the earliest of rhymes that Potter used for the 1917 work. She had begun to consider preparing a book of nursery rhymes, eventually centered with her rhyme about the mouse Appley Dapply, as early as 1902, and revisited the project a few times before she began in earnest, in June of 1917, to compile some of her earlier work for the publication. The book was issued in abridged form in October of the same year. Linder A History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter. Bonhams would like to express our thanks to Judy Taylor Hough of the Beatrix Potter Society for her assistance.