Letter by famed Lake District writer Beatrix Potter valued at £1,500

12 January 2017 3:26PM

A HANDWRITTEN letter by Beatrix Potter is up for auction next month valued at £1,500.

The remarkable letter is dated August 30 1937 and is to then mayor of Kendal Henry Airey.

Written on fine tissue paper, Beatrix Heelis (nee Potter) starts by saying "you may remember my name".

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It is full of wit and reinforces Beatrix Potter's passion for and commitment to preserving local skills and traditions.

She goes on to congratulate him on a speech he gave a year earlier to celebrate the town's success in securing Catherine Parr's prayer book.

The mayor had campaigned hard to raise funds to buy the Queen's tiny prayer book because of the important link to Kendal.

However the main reason for the famous writer's letter to Councillor Airey is, she says, to reassure him of her plans for a loom she purchased that very day; Kendal's last working loom.

"I will not take away a relic of Kendal without telling you," she writes and that it will not go to "Kendal museum, a dreary jumble of stuffed birds and sundries…" but perhaps to "Coniston to the estate 'workshop'..."

She ends her letter by saying they are both "sentimental antiquarians".

Beatrix's remarkable letter, a copy of the prayer book and photographs of the book presentation ceremony are being sold by Henry Airey's great grandson who hopes they will find an appreciative new home.

The copy bible was presented to Cllr Airey at the ceremony by the famed writer Hugh Walpole - who also signed it along with Margaret Strickland of Sizergh Castle.

The collection is up for auction on Monday February 6.

Valuer David Brookes, from 1818 Auctioneers on the Cumbria-Lancashire border, has put an estimate of £1,500 on the collection.

He said a letter to a Kendal bookseller from Beatrix Potter made a similar price at a recent auction.

Mr Brookes said: "The two-sided letter is a delight to read.

"It is full of wit and reinforces Beatrix Potter's passion for and commitment to preserving local skills and traditions.

"Given the mayor's successful efforts to secure Queen Katherine Parr's Book of Devotion we can understand why she wanted to reassure him of her motives regarding Kendal's last working loom."

Anyone interested in viewing the items at 1818 Auctioneers at junction 36 of the M6 can do so on Friday February 3 from 1pm to 4pm, Saturday February 4 from 10am to 2pm, and from 8.30am on the morning of the sale.

Further details can be found here.

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