Potter manuscript fails to sell

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AN ILLUSTRATED manuscript by the children's author Beatrix Potter failed to sell at auction yesterday, despite expectations that it would fetch more than pounds 200,000.

A Sotheby's spokeswoman confirmed that The Story of the Fierce Bad Rabbit was not sold at the London auction yesterday but said that the sale process would continue.

The manuscript - comprising 15 watercolour illustrations and text mounted on linen - was written for the daughter of Harold Warne, Potter's publisher, as a present for her sixth birthday. It has since been in the Warne family for 93 years.

Potter's books have appeared in more than 30 languages, including Lithuanian, Greek and Thai, and have sold over 80 million copies worldwide. Peter Rabbit is the most popular title, with sales of over pounds 10m in the US alone.

t At the same auction, a private collection of books, drawings, letters, photographs and ephemera relating to Aubrey Beardsley fetched pounds 205,850.