Manuscript for The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots was discovered in the V&A’s archive after being lost for 100 years.
A never-before-published story by Beatrix Potter featuring Peter Rabbit has been published for the first time.
The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots was rediscovered two years ago by publisher Jo Hanks in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum after being lost for more than century.
The much-loved children’s author died in 1943, leaving The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots unfinished. As this year marks the 150th anniversary of her birth, the story is being brought to the public for the first time in celebration.
The tale was discovered handwritten in three schoolbooks but the author had only completed one sketch. Much-loved illustrator Quentin Blake, best known for his work with Roald Dahl, was brought in to bring the tale to life.
Other letters in the archive revealed that the writer intended to finish the tale, but ‘interruptions began’ – and continued: from the beginning of the First World War, to marriage, to sheep farming, to colds.
Jo Hanks said: “The tale really is the best of Beatrix Potter. It has double identities, colourful villains and a number of favourite characters from other tales (including Mr Tod, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Ribby and Tabitha Twitchit). And, most excitingly, our treasured, mischievous Peter Rabbit makes an appearance – albeit older, slower and portlier!”
She continues: “As soon as we began the conversation about finding an illustrator, we knew it had to be Quentin Blake.”
Quentin Blake said: “It seemed almost incredible when, early in 2015, I was sent the manuscript of a story by Beatrix Potter; one which had lain unpublished for a hundred years and which, with the exception of a single drawing, she had never illustrated.
“I liked the story immediately – it’s full of incident and mischief and character – and I was fascinated to think that I was being asked to draw pictures for it. I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me.”
The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots is published by Frederick Warne & Co, Beatrix Potter’s original publisher, just over a century after she penned the tale.
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