Beatrix potter

The surprising feminism of Beatrix Potter

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck, Squirrel Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes are names that take me back to my childhood. Every year, my mum would drive me and my four siblings to the Swiss mountains for family holidays. To avoid our moans of ‘are we there yet?’ she created voices for all of the Beatrix Potter characters and invented songs which we all sang along to. Although we knew the stories of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and, of course, Peter Rabbit, it was later that I learnt about the fascinating woman behind the famous tales who is the subject of the V&A’s exhibition, Beatrix Potter: Dawn to Nature. As the exhibition shows,

Four difficult women who fought to preserve the English countryside

One thing that Covid lockdown made us appreciate was the importance of being outdoors. When we were finally allowed into them, national and local parks became chockfull and many people rediscovered that being in the open had health benefits. How timely, then, that Matthew Kelly has written an account of four redoubtable rural activists: Octavia Hill, Beatrix Potter, Sylvia Sayer and Pauline Dower. He describes them as ‘the women who saved the English countryside’ – which is perhaps a bit of a stretch, though it’s true that individually they fought tooth and nail to preserve vast tracts of it. Their lives spanned the past two centuries and they were all,

Children will love it – alas: Peter Rabbit 2 reviewed

The cinemas finally reopened this week and what better way to celebrate than with Peter Rabbit 2? You’ll probably be thinking that there are plenty of better ways to celebrate than with Peter Rabbit 2, particularly if you saw the first Peter Rabbit, which was a travesty (I think. I slept through most of it). However, while this sequel has none of the smarts of, say, Toy Story or Paddington, the franchise is getting there. It’s certainly an improvement on the original (I stayed awake, mostly) and who knows, by Peter Rabbit 798, which seems inevitable, it may have actually nailed it. The film is directed by Will Gluck, who