News: The Tale Of Names From The World Of Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866, so today we’re taking a look at some of the names of her best known creations to see how popular they have proven to be (with our customers at least!).
Beatrix Potter wrote 24 children’s tales beginning with “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” (1902) – a book which has since been translated into 36 languages and has sold over 45 million copies (making it one of the best-selling books of all time!).
In addition to being an author and illustrator, Beatrix was also a natural scientist, farmer, and conservationist – the Lake District National Park is largely made up of land that she is credited with preserving. She studied a wide variety of subjects including archaeological artefacts, fossils, insects, and plants, and she became a widely respected expert in the field of mycology (the study of fungi).
Beatrix and her brother (Walter Bertram) shared a love of the countryside and both were talented artists; they made endless drawings and paintings of their childhood pets and the country estates that they visited during the summer holidays. In the 1890s, they began printing cards for Christmas and other special occasions as a way to earn money and Beatrix often used mice and rabbits as the subjects of her paintings. Some of her animal drawings (including several of her pet rabbit, Benjamin Bunny) were bought by Hildesheimer and Faulkner as illustrations for books that they were publishing – inspiring Beatrix to publish her own illustrated stories.
She often added small sketches to the letters that she sent to young friends and amongst these was a letter she wrote to the eldest son of her former governess; Noel was often ill and so Beatrix wrote a short story to amuse him – a tale about “four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter”. It was this letter that Beatrix chose as the starting point for the first of her tales; “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit”.
While our customers haven’t used some of Beatrix’ more whimsical character names for their children (meaning, sadly, we haven’t printed any labels for a Flopsy, Mopsy, OR a Cottontail – or indeed anyone named Twinkleberry, Duchess, Simpkin, Hunca Munca, Moppet, Mittens, Kep, Pickles, or Diggory Delvet), we’ve seen plenty of orders for names that feature in the world of Beatrix Potter…
- Peter (Rabbit); the hero of Beatrix’ first tale was named after her childhood pet rabbit, “Peter Piper”.
- Benjamin (Bunny); Peter’s cousin was named for another of Beatrix’ pet rabbits.
- Tom (Thumb and Kitten); the name of one of the “Two Bad Mice” (named for one of two mice that Beatrix rescued from a trap in her cousin’s kitchen) and the kitten who featured in his own tale.
- Tiggy (-Winkle, Miss); the hedgehog washerwoman inspired by Kitty Macdonald (a Scottish washerwoman employed by the Potters during their summer holidays at Dalguise House) and named for Beatrix’ pet hedgehog.
- Jeremy (Fisher); the frog fisherman inspired by Beatrix’ childhood pet frogs and her father’s love of sport fishing.
- Tabitha (Twitchit); a character who pops up in five of Beatrix’ tales and was inspired by a cat (called Tabitha Twitchit) that lived on Hill Top Farm (bought by Beatrix in 1905).
- Jemima (Puddleduck); based on a duck that lived at Hill Top Farm, this character was (most likely) named for Jemima Blackburn (an ornithological painter and illustrator whom Beatrix greatly admired).
- Samuel (Whiskers); a rat named after a previous pet owned by Beatrix – a fancy rat called Sammy.
- Anna (Maria); Samuel Whisker’s wife who appears in “The Tale Of Samuel Whiskers”, which was inspired by an invasion of rats at Hill Top Farm.
- Ginger; a cat who features in “The Tale Of Ginger and Pickles” and was named after Tommy Bunkle – a cat belonging to a schoolmistress in the town of Sawrey (the town near to Hill Top Farm).
- John (Dormouse); “The Tale Of Ginger and Pickles” was dedicated to John Taylor (the owner of the shop that inspired the tale) and he was included in the tale as the character John Dormouse.
- Timmy (Tiptoes and Willie); the name of both Timmy Tiptoes (a squirrel who features in his own tale) and Timmy Willie (the country mouse who features in “The Tale Of Johnny Town-Mouse”).
- Tommy (Brock); the badger who is the arch enemy of the fox “Mr Tod”.
- Johnny (Town-Mouse); the friend of Timmy Willie (the country mouse) was inspired by Dr Parsons, a friend of Beatrix’ husband.
- Cecily (Parsley); a rabbit who was featured in the illustrations for Beatrix’ second collection of traditional nursery rhymes.
- Kitty (-in-Boots); the central character of a tale that was written in 1914 but remained unpublished until the manuscript was discovered in an archive in 2015.
Additional Information about our Name Labels
Our name labels are perfect for labelling your children’s belongings safely and securely – even if they’re as adventurous as Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny! We use a unique adhesive that is designed to make sure that these name labels simply stick on and stay on – even after repeat trips through the washing machine. Each label simply peels off its backing sheet and can then be applied onto the wash-care label of clothing or directly onto personal items, including shoes and bags, lunch boxes and water bottles, and mobile devices.