'Spine-tingling' Beatrix Potter drawings found hidden inside books

Image found Image copyright Chris Titmus
Image caption The four line drawings were discovered at Melford Hall

Previously unknown drawings by Beatrix Potter have been found during cleaning work at a National Trust property.

The four line drawings were found hidden inside books during conservation work at Melford Hall in Suffolk.

Potter, the creator of Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, was a regular visitor to the Long Melford stately home and cousin to the Hyde Parkers who lived there.

The images are set to go on display to the public.

Image copyright Chris Titmus
Image caption Beatrix Potter took regular holidays at Melford Hall between 1899 and 1916
Image copyright NAtional Trust
Image caption All four images are set to go on display at Melford Hall

Three of the drawings were found by house manager Josephine Waters.

She said: "I was moving a bookcase together with a colleague and whilst we were going through some of the books we discovered a drawing tucked inside, it was classic Potter style and we immediately knew it was one of hers.

"It was an absolutely spine-tingling moment. I remember all the hairs on the back on my neck stood up as we realised what we'd found. Working with a collection like this, it was a dream come true."

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Three of the drawings were found by house manager Josephine Waters
Image copyright National Trust Images/Rupert Truman
Image caption Melford Hall in Suffolk was the ancestral home to a cousin of Potter's

A fourth picture was discovered by Lady Hyde Parker, who lives at Melford Hall with her husband, Sir Richard, where Potter took regular holidays between 1899 and 1916.

Ms Waters said: "We do not know the exact dates for all the drawings, but they give us a glimpse into the world of Beatrix beyond the children's stories and help us to imagine more about who she was as a person, and particularly who she was when she was on holiday and drawing for her own entertainment."

Melford Hall is also home to the original Jemima Puddle-Duck toy, thought to have inspired the children's story.

The exhibition - Beatrix Potter's Melford - will start on 13 July and run until the last weekend of October.

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