shows the tailor of Gloucester’s cat catching mice in mousetraps and upturned teacups. Later in the story, the tailor will find and release them, leading to Simpkin’s unfaithful act of hiding the ‘cherry coloured twist’ the tailor needs for making the mayor’s wedding coat. Throughout the story, Potter alternates between lifelike and exaggerated depictions of the cat – sometimes shown on two legs, wearing a coat and carrying a pipkin of milk, and other times as a naturalistic cat, such as here.
Helen Beatrix Potter
Date of work
Original: Ink, watercolour and 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.