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Beatrix Potter

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Leah Mann

on 2 December 2014

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Transcript of Beatrix Potter

Hopping into Mr. McGregor's Garden:
Beatrix Potter's Fascination with the World of Nature

By: Leah Mann
Although most people recognize the name
Beatrix Potter as the author of some of the most
beloved children's books, Potter was far more talented than imaginable.
Historical Perspective
born on July 28, 1866 in South Kensington, London
her mother attempted to groom Beatrix for a traditional Victorian life
deeply influenced by family holidays in the countryside
the family visited the English Lake District, described as "a verdant expanse of rolling grassy countryside, dotted with trees and lakes, and surrounded by mountains" (The Scientist Magazine, 4/6/07)
women were typically homemakers
accession of Queen Victoria to the throne introduced a paradox of gender ideology
as the scientific realm became more defined, the study of the natural world, once permissibly female oriented, became increasingly dominated by men
Artistic Bent
as a child and young adult, she loved to draw and paint
her insistence upon anatomical accuracy and meticulousness made her work as scientific as it was artistic
what was unique about her talent was her attention to detail
Becoming a Scientist Through Art
through hours spent drawing plants, Potter became particularly intrigued by algae and fungi
she became skilled at microscopic observation and at culturing spores
Potter began corresponding with a rural postman and enthusiastic naturalist named Charles McIntosh, who sent her fungal samples
Amateur Mycologist
Potter experimented with germinating the spores of various species of fungi
in 1896, she met with George Massee, the mycologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, to discuss how fungi reproduce
her uncle encouraged her to write her results in a paper
her paper, entitled "On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae" was presented at the Linnean society but she was not permitted to attend or read it
Tales of Success
Potter's literary characters grew out of her passion for science and nature
although her characters spoke and were human-like in some ways, they retained their animal natures
her illustrations depicted natural landscapes and anatomically realistic appearances
she reawakened people to a love of nature
Potter's Later Years
Potter's holidays in the English Lake District fueled her passion for conservationism
when she began to visit this area, it was threatened by tourism and development
in the last years of her life, she purchased acre upon acre of land to preserve it
Despite barriers to Beatrix Potter's advancement in the fields of botany and mycology, she nevertheless made an impact in the world of science, sharing her fascination for the natural world through remarkable writings and illustrations, and by working tirelessly to save the beloved English Lake District of her youth.
Full transcript