Children’s Spontaneity "Wiped Out by Teaching" Claimed Beatrix Potter in Forthright Letters for Sale at Bonhams


LONDON.- Two letters written by Beatrix Potter just before the Second World War to the sculptress, Josefina de Vasconcellos, form part of an archive of papers being auctioned at Bonhams Printed Books, Maps and Manuscripts sale in London on 23 November (est £4,000-8,000). They provide a fascinating insight into the famous author’s no nonsense approach to life giving her views on topics as diverse as the deadening effect of the education system on children’s spontaneity to the decline of the “old strong honestly made handcrafts”. Referring to a child’s sketch she had received, she writes, “That was a charming letter, with the naive plan of a child’s garden; a garden very suitable for Benjamin Bunny. It’s curious how graphic children can be, up to a certain age, and then they lose it, or it is wiped out by teaching. A shepherd’s child about 5 years old showed me a remarkable crayon scribble of two lam