July 11, 2012

This little piggy went for £60,000


This Pig Went to Market, an original watercolor by Beatrix Potter, sold for some $95,000 at auction.

An extremely rare set of watercolors by Beatrix Potter was auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London today, for a whopping £60,000, or about $95,000.

The set of four watercolors (on three sheets) illustrate “This Pig Went to Market, which you might know better as “This Little Piggy,” or the most popular nursery rhyme among foot fetishists.

Potter was an English author and illustrator best known for her pastoral children’s stories, especially her Peter Rabbit character, which she also made into a doll that she merchandized. In 1922, at the encouragement of Anne Carroll Moore of the New York Public Library, she published Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes, a collection of some of her favorite rhymes, which is where the auctioned watercolors initially appeared.

Sotheby’s notes that the illustrations for the book were changed for publication; for instance, the signposts in the published version read, “To Porkham,” while these read “To Melford,” a reference to Potter’s cousins, for whom she initially drew this set.

The collection of the UK’s National Trust holds three of the four illustrations, but it’s missing the first—making the collection that was sold yesterday the only known complete set.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.