Trivia

Hard

Children’s Author Beatrix Potter Was Also An Accomplished?

Mycologist
Trapeze Artist
Pilot
Sharpshooter
A mycological illustration of the reproductive system of a fungus.
Helen Beatrix Potter/Wikimedia

Answer: Mycologist

Beatrix Potter is best known to modern readers as an early 20th century children’s author famous for The Tale of Peter Rabbit and, to a lesser degree, other equally whimsical stories like The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, among others.

Although Potter found enduring fame in penning tales (and inking the accompanying illustrations) of anthropomorphic creatures like bunnies, frogs, kittens, and ducks, in her lifetime she was also well-known and respected in the field of mycology.

Raised in a wealthy household, Beatrix Potter had access to educational opportunities many women of her age did not. That, coupled with her parents unusual encouragement of her interests in higher learning and science, led to her becoming a well educated amateur naturalist. Eventually, her interest in science and art found a perfect union. She was drawn to mycology because of the great diversity of colors and evanescence found among the many fungi of the world.

While she started with sketches and paintings, after meeting Charles McIntosh (a revered Victorian-era naturalist and amateur mycologist) while on holiday, she honed her focus and began researching fungi in earnest. This in turn led to her developing a theory on fungi germination, submitting a paper to the Linnean Society, and creating numerous additional sketches and paintings. To this day her illustrations, which are both beautifully rendered and accurate, are still referenced.

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