Beatrix Potter began to draw at a very early age, encouraged by her parents, Rupert and Helen. Her earliest drawings were mostly sketches of plants and animals. The family’s friendship with the painter Millais, gave her an insight into the world of artists and visits to the Royal Academy developed her critical skills. She very much enjoyed the art, prints and posters of Gainsborough, Reynolds, Raphael and Titian. There are many detailed accounts of her visits to these exhibitions in her Journal.
During the 1890s Beatrix concentrated on natural history and in particular fungi, although at the same time she was earning a small income by selling illustrations for booklets, greetings cards and albums. Throughout her life she was guided by the principle of portraying nature as accurately as possible in her art, prints and posters.
Beatrix Potter is usually associated with her famous animal character illustrations, and many people are surprised to learn of the wide variety of subjects in her sketches and art, prints and posters, ranging from animals to landscapes, flowers to fossils.