Manuscript of Peter Rabbit's delinquent relative goes on sale

AN ORIGINAL manuscript by Beatrix Potter telling the story of Peter Rabbit's bigger, badder cousin is expected to fetch up to pounds 250,000 at auction on Thursday.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn