Beatrix Potter Quotes

Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866 - December 22, 1943)

Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Beatrix Potter, born in London, grew up isolated from most other children, with drawing, nature, pets, her little brother, and governesses as her contacts with the world. In the 1890s, Beatrix Potter carried out experiments in natural history, illustrating plants, lichen, and fungi. When the difficulties of succeeding as a woman scientist became clear, she began a career as an illustrator of children's writing.

Her best-known book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, began as a letter to the young son of her former governess. It was first privately published in 1901. After she married at age 47 and bought a farm in the Lake District, her writing tapered off, and she focused on her personal life, her husband, preserving the natural landscape, and raising sheep.

Selected Beatrix Potter Quotations

• Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.

• What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood?

• I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.

• Most people, after one success, are so cringingly afraid of doing less well that they rub all the edge off their subsequent work.

• All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. .

. . Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest. [Journals 1881-1897]

• I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever. [Journals]

• I hold an old-fashioned notion that a happy marriage is the crown of a woman's life.

[Journals 1894]

• I hate publicity, and I have contrived to survive to be an old woman without it, except in the homey atmosphere of Agricultural Shows. [1939 interview]

• There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.

• The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.

• I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense… [journal entry, November 17, 1896 ]

• It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific'.

• Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were -- Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big tree.

[The Tale of Peter Rabbit]

• Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. [The Tale of Peter Rabbit]

• Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea: "One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.”   [The Tale of Peter Rabbit]

• He did not live long, but he fulfilled a useful happy life. I must try to make a fresh beginning next year.  [about her fiance and publisher, Norman Warne, who died during the time her parents insisted they remain apart before marrying]

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Beatrix Potter Quotes." About Women's History. URL: . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Beatrix Potter Quotes." ThoughtCo, Nov. 30, 2015, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2015, November 30). Beatrix Potter Quotes. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Beatrix Potter Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 19, 2017).