Yesterday was Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday. Whilst the author is perhaps most well known for her connection to the Lake District, she was a regular visitor to Long Melford in Suffolk where her nieces lived.
Potter was a cousin to the Hyde Parker family whose family home was Melford Hall. Through her many visits to the hall from the 1890s onwards, Potter came to love Melford and drew inspiration from the house and gardens. She painted a series of watercolours of the house, and the duck pond at the property was the basis for illustrations in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck and The Tale of Jeremy Fisher.
There is a Beatrix Potter Room at Melford Hall which displays her watercolours and drawings, as well as a model of Jemima Puddle-Duck which was a gift from Potter for the Hyde Parker children.
Over the summer you can visit Melford Hall to see the exhibition of Beatrix Potter Secret Drawings to see a series of drawings that were discovered hidden inside books during conservation work. On display for the first time, these drawings will give insight to Potter’s life and will reveal more about her interests and artistic inspirations.
Also, you can explore a selection of Potter’s sketches drawn over the course of her holidays at Melford Hall in the exhibition Beatrix Potter’s Melford: Holiday Sketches 1899 - 1916. Seeming to always carry a sketchbook or camera with, Potter would enjoy the luxury of an impromptu sketch, paint or photograph when inspiration struck.
Tomorrow, Saturday 30th July, between 1pm and 4:30pm there will be Beatrix Potter Story Readings - an ideal way to introduce your children to the wonder of Potter’s tales or simply get carried away by the adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends. This event will also be every Saturday in August and on Saturday 22nd October.
These events are free, although normal admission charges to Melford Hall do apply.
On Saturday 13th August you come along to Melford Hall to be delighted by an outdoor theatre performance which will interpret the much loved stories. Bring along a picnic and be entertained in the garden where Beatrix Potter herself was inspired. This event will be on between 6pm and 8pm, with Adult tickets at £11, Child tickets at £7.50, and various Family ticket options all priced at £33. To book please call 08442491895 or visit the National Trust website.
Why not discover Long Melford for yourself? Stay nearby in Lavenham. Pilgrims, sleeps 3, is the perfect property to explore Lavenham and the beautiful surrounding countryside.