After the tailor frees the mice from the upturned teacups that his cat, Simpkin, has trapped them in, Simpkin spitefully hides the tailor’s much needed twist. Having seen the tailor fall ill, and heard the mice stitching away, Simpkin regrets his actions and decides to make amends: ‘When the tailor awoke in the morning, the first thing which he saw upon the patchwork quilt, was a skein of cherry-coloured twisted silk, and beside his bed stood the repentant Simpkin!’ Potter depicts the tailor’s bedside, with the sorrowful cat holding a conciliatory cup of tea.
Helen Beatrix Potter
Simpkin at the Tailor's Bedside
Date of work
Original: Ink, watercolourand gouache on paper. 11.1 x 9.2 cm Tate. Presented by Capt. K.W.G Duke RN 1946
Helen Beatrix Potter (1866 –1943) was a British writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist. Potter's study and watercolours of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology, but she is best known for the successful series of children's books the wrote and illustrated, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit
, The Tailor of Gloucester
and The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
. 22 of her illustrations for The Tailor of Gloucester
form part of Tate’s collection, and can be viewed by appointment in Tate Britain’s Prints and Drawings Room.