The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.
London, Frederick Warne, [Circa 1912].
Annie Maria Armitt (1850-1933), one of three gifted and well-educated sisters, was a novelist, poet, short story writer, and essayist. Unusually for the time Mr Armitt wanted to give his talented daughters a first class education, but in 1867 this plan went awry when their father died suddenly leaving the trio facing severe financial difficulties. Undaunted however, together they opened a school in Eccles, Lancashire, which thrived, allowing them to travel and continue their own studies.
In 1912 the youngest sister, Mary Louisa, founded The Armitt Library, now known as The Armitt, a museum, library and gallery, devoted to preserving and sharing the cultural heritage of the Lake District. Beatrix Potter was one of the Armitt's earliest supporters, and the collection holds a number of her family's books, her own first edition copies of her books, and a large number of botanical watercolours by her. Annie Armitt married Stanford Harris in 1877 and went to live near Hawkshead in the Lake District. In 1882 Mary and Sophia received a substantial legacy and in 1894 they moved to Rydal, where they lived with Annie, now widowed, for the rest of their lives. Here the sisters enjoyed socialising with a large circle of distinguished friends, including John Ruskin as well as Beatrix Potter.
'Jemima Puddle-Duck is her poem about [Hill Top Farm] itself, and anyone who is curious to reconstruct its exact appearance in those days can do so from the pictures in that book…' (Margaret Lane). Another of the author's most famous creations, Jemima Puddle-Duck, with her naive & trusting nature, was based on a real duck from Hill Top Farm, and proved immensely popular, spin-off merchandise including a Jemima painting book and illustrated fabric placemats hand-fashioned by Potter and distributed to friends. Critically, the book is considered one of Potter's best.
16mo; inscribed on half-title and front and rear endpapers by Annie Maria Harris née Armitt; colour illustrations throughout, one leaf with vertical crease to right-hand side; publisher's green boards with inset rectangular panel to upper cover, pictorial endpapers, front free endpaper rubbed with slight surface loss to fore-margin, spine faded.
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