Manuscript of Peter Rabbit's delinquent relative goes on sale
The Story of the Fierce Bad Rabbit was written specially for the daughter of Potter's publisher, Harold Warne. The little girl had complained that Peter Rabbit was too well behaved - she wanted to read about a really naughty rabbit.
Potter immediately wrote a story about a "fierce bad rabbit; look at his savage whiskers and his claws ... who nastily steals a carrot from a nice gentle rabbit". The two rabbits fight and the gentle one runs away and hides in a hole. But a man with a gun comes along, sees the fierce rabbit sitting on a bench and shoots him. When the man approaches the bench, all that are left are the carrot and a little white tail. The gentle rabbit peeps out of her hole and sees the naughty one running past, minus his tail.
The manuscript, which consists of a series of watercolours mounted on linen, was given to Louie Warne on her sixth birthday and has been with the Warne family ever since.
Mr Warne liked the story so much that he asked Potter to produce another version, to print from. The printed edition came folded up like a concertina, in a special wallet. Shops refused to stock it because it was hard to refold, and it was eventually reprinted in orthodox book form. The Story of Miss Moppet was also printed in the unusual format, but the original of that has been lost.
Catherine Porter, of Sotheby's books department, said it was exceptionally rare for a major Potter manuscript to come on to the market, as most were owned by the National Trust, the Frederick Warne archive or museums. The last major Potter item to be sold at Sotheby's was an illustrated letter of Jeremy Fisher, which fetched pounds 130,000.
Potter's books are all in print and have been published in 30 languages, including Lithuanian, Greek and Thai. Peter Rabbit is the best-selling children's book in the world, with sales of over pounds 10m in America alone.
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...