RARELY seen objects, including personal letters, family photographs and early sketchbooks belonging to Beatrix Potter will go on display as part of a new exhibition telling the story of the successful author and celebrated conservationist.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) says Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature will be the first exhibition to tell the complete life story of the loved children’s author.

The Westmorland Gazette: TALE: The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck artwork, 1908. Watercolour and ink on paper. © National Trust images

Realised through a major partnership with the National Trust, the interactive exhibition, which opens on February 12 until January 8 2023, will invite visitors of all ages to rediscover Potter and explore the breadth of her achievements, from storyteller to natural scientist and conservationist.

The exhibition will showcase over 240 personal objects including rarely seen letters, manuscripts, sketches, coded diaries, family photographs, examples of commercial merchandise and personal artefacts and will celebrate her early talent for storytelling, business acumen and fascination with the scientific study of the natural world, as well as her passion for sheep farming and conservation – a legacy still felt today.

The Westmorland Gazette: DRAWING: View across Esthwaite Water, by Beatrix Potter, 21 November 1909. Linder Bequest. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, courtesy Frederick Warne & Co Ltd.

Across four sections, the exhibition will follow Potter’s journey from London to the Lake District, where she eventually settled.

Annemarie Bilclough, Frederick Warne curator of illustration at the Victoria and Albert Museum said: “Visitors will be familiar with the extraordinary legacy of Potter’s storybooks, but in this exhibition will discover how her talent at making her characters real emerged from a longstanding curiosity for the small details of nature, which could have led her down a different career path.

“We hope to inspire the next generation of artists and storytellers, but also natural scientists, conservationists and farmers.

“Potter’s story shows that through talent, passion and perseverance, life can take unexpected twists and turns and great things can grow from inconsequential beginnings.”

The Westmorland Gazette: FARMING: Tom Storey and Beatrix Heelis with prize-winning ewe , 26 September 1930. Photographic print, published by the British Photo Press. © National Trust

Helen Antrobus, assistant national curator at the National Trust said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the V&A to shine a light on the full life and legacy of a remarkable, multifaceted woman.

“The National Trust is proud to care for the items and places which were special to Beatrix. From Hill Top, her traditional Lake District farmhouse filled with trinkets and furniture and still presented as it was in Beatrix’s lifetime, to the vast Monk Coniston estate and fourteen traditional Lakeland farms with their flocks of Herdwick sheep.

“Thanks to her pioneering conservation efforts and generous bequest of her homes, farms and land to the National Trust, we’re able to continue her legacy caring for the landscape, traditions and Lakeland way of life that inspired Beatrix so they can continue to inspire others.”