Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Tailor of Gloucester

Of all her stories the privately-printed edition of The Tailor of Gloucester is said to be Beatrix Potter's favorite.  After Warne published "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", Beatrix self-published this story believing Warne would not care to publish another story so soon.  She also felt they would want to cut out the many old rhymes she'd included.  She gave Norman a copy for Christmas in 1902.  He immediately wrote back that they would like to publish it.  But as she feared, she was asked to cut much of the book, which included the old rhymes.

The story was inspired by the true story of a tailor in Gloucester told to her by her cousin Caroline Hutton whom she'd visited over the years since 1894 at Harecombe Grange in Gloucestershire.  One Saturday the tailor had left out on the table the cut-out pieces of a waistcoat he was making for the Mayor's wedding suit and came back in on Monday to find it finished except for one button-hole.  A note was attached saying 'No more twist'.  Not knowing who could have done it, he put a sign in his window with the waistcoat that said, 'Come to Prichard where the waistcoats are made at night by the fairies'.

Beatrix had been charmed by the thought of fairies since her childhood summers in Scotland.  She once wrote, 'Everything was romantic in my imagination.  The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk.  The Lords and Ladies of the last Century walked with me along the overgrown paths in the garden'.  She decided she must write the story about the tailor's strange happening.  She changed the time period to the 18th century and the fairies to mice.  The story was finished by Christmas 1901 with 12 watercolor illustrations and given to Freda Moore, her former governess's daughter.  Her dedication read:  My Dear Freda, Because you are fond of fairy-tales, and have been ill, I have made you a story all for yourself—a new one that nobody has read before.  And the queerest thing about it is—that I heard it in Gloucestershire, and that it is true—at least about the tailor, the waistcoat, and the 'No more twist!'

After the success of the Warne-published Peter Rabbit, Beatrix borrowed back the hand-written copy she'd given Freda, rewrote it, added more illustrations, and had 500 copies printed privately.  One of the poems that she remarked was cut from Warne's publication was this one:

'I saw three ships come sailing by,
Sailing by, sailing by;
I saw three ships come sailing by
On Christmas Day in the morning.

'And who do you think were in them then,
In them then, in them then?
And who do you think were in them then,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

'Three pretty maids were in them then,
In them then, in them then;
Three pretty maids were in them then,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

'And one could whistle, and one could sing,
And one could play on the violin;
Such joy was at my wedding,
On Christmas Day in the morning!'

Beatrix was given private access to the South Kensington Museum's (now Victoria & Albert) collection of 18th-century clothing which she used as her model for the clothing.  You can can see the  waistcoat HERE.

Warne published the story in October 1903.  It can be read HERE.  Or you can watch the animated version below.  The beginning is a delightful live-action scene in London. . . .

Thank you ALL for following and commenting on my Year with Beatrix Potter & Friends.  You were such an encouragement to me--knowing someone was out there taking the time to follow my drawing/painting efforts and then leave a comment to let me know.  It helped a great deal in keeping my feet to the fire--and my pencil/brush to the page!  Anyone who commented six or more times has been entered in my GIVE-AWAY--one entry for each month they commented.  Regrettably, after checking postal costs, I cannot include my International commenters.  The winner will receive my extra copy of Beatrix Potter's Journal.  Not only does this large-format book contain beautifully illustrated tidbits on Beatrix's stories, it contains a facsimile of her privately-printed, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". . . .

The name that Jemima drew out of the bowl is:

Martha Ellen

Martha Ellen, I already have your address so you do not need to send it to me, but I will wait to hear from you in case you already have a copy and do not wish to have another.  If so, I will draw a new name.

I thought it fitting to conclude my series on Beatrix Potter with this poem that she wrote.  It was found amongst her papers after her death on December 22, 1943:

I will go back to the hills again
That are sisters to the sea,
The bare hills, the brown hills
That stand eternally,
And their strength shall be my strength
And their joy my joy shall be.

There are no hills like the Wasdale hills
When spring comes up the dale,
Nor any woods like the larch woods,
Where the primroses blow pale,
And the shadows flicker quiet-wise
On the stark ridge of Black Sail.

I will go back to the hills again
When the day's work is done,
And set my hands against the rocks
Warm with an April sun,
And see the night creep down the fells
And the stars climb one my one.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Joyful New Year❣️

Note:  Much of my information was taken from Leslie Linder's 1971 "A History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter".  It is a comprehensive collection of published and unpublished works by Beatrix Potter.  I highly recommend it.

.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!


  1. What a wonderful surprise, Cathy! I have looked at this journal and wished for it. Thank you for all of the work you have put into these posts. I have enjoyed each one and have learned more about Beatrix Potter. Her heart certainly touched me on many occasions. Merry Christmas to you and your family! ♥

    1. Yay! I love that I could make your wish come true! I'll put it in the mail tomorrow. You should receive sometime next week, more than likely. Thank you for coming along with me on this ride this year. ❤️

  2. Cathy, sorry to have been so inconsistent in keeping up with your blog this year; but rest assured I will try to catch up on what I've missed, and do better in the coming year! I've especially enjoyed the progress you've made in your drawings/paintings. Keep up the good work, and Merry Christmas to you and yours. <3

  3. It has been a wonderful series, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and great New Year, too.

  4. Another enjoyable walk through the stories of Beatrix Potter! I enjoyed watching the videos, hearing the tunes and finding out background info that I didn't know. Thank you for your continued efforts on bringing happiness to so many. Wishes for a very Merry Christmas & a blessed 2017!!

    1. I'm very happy that you enjoyed these Beatrix Potter posts. I love that I can bring joy into your days!

  5. It's been fun Cathy! Merry Christmas to you and your family and a wonderful New Year.
    Chris W

    1. Wonderful! Merry Christmas to you and yours and a very happy New Year!

  6. I love "The Tailor of Gloucester!" It was one of the books in a "Peter Rabbit" [Beatrix Potter] set I was given as a baby. There were 4 books all together & I used to lay on the floor and PORE over them as a little kid. For HOURS. I remember being SO curious about what the words said - I couldn't WAIT to learn to read. Loved the "I Saw Three Ships" video too. That little bird was incredibly sweet. Looks like a chickadee to me, but I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to identifying birds. Too cute anyway. I never knew that poem until I was given "Take Joy" for Christmas by my principal, the second Christmas I was teaching. That book has been part of Christmas for me ever since. It's out on my coffee table right now where I can get at it easily, from Thanksgiving right through the New Year. Just love all the stories, poetry, the old-fashioned activities & recipes. And all with Tasha's lovely illustrations. Congrats to Martha on winning the Beatrix Potter journal - what a nice Christmas surprise! Are you planning on doing another "series" monthly in 2017? Can't wait to find out. Hope you, Ken, your lil kiddos & all the family - and all your readers too - have a wonderful & blessed Christmas - and a very Happy & Healthy New Year! ⭐️⭐️⭐️❤️

    1. I am not planning a regular monthly series because I'm going to devote the year to illustrating my Gabriel's Tale story. I may share as I go along when I feel each illustration is ready to be shown. Of course, if something presents itself to me as a monthly series before the end of January that I can't resist.....

  7. Thank you for a wonderful year of following the tales of some of my favourite stories from my childhood. The pictures you have painted have been so good too. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Sarah x

    1. Thank you Sarah. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, too!

  8. Merry Christmas Dear Cathy!! And a Joyous Blessed New Year too!!
    Sending Love and Warmth and hoping you will enjoy all good things with your family
    and friends and pets too :-)

    Thank you for all of these wonderful posts that you do!!
    lots of love Linnie

    And congratulations to Sweet Lovely Martha Ellen
    what a dear book !! :-)

    1. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you, too, Linnie! Thank you for all the encouragement you give me. ❤️

  9. Hurrah for Martha's win and for all your due diligence in providing your readers with such interesting history, and observations into the world of Beatrix Potter. I've learned much about her reading your posts, and though I thought I knew it all, I guess I didn't. So, there really WAS a tailor! I must say this has always been one of my favorite Potter stories, it is so perfect in every way. I was aware that Beatrix was allowed to "borrow" the clothing from the museum. It has inspired my artwork to persnickity detail, seeing all the intricacies she painted into the waistcoat. Hope you have a perfect Christmas...

    1. Thank you Jeri. Christmas will be perfect just because it IS!


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