Beswick/Royal Albert Figurines: Beatrix Potter Collectables
These collectable Beswick storybook figurines make for very popular presents not only for children but for collectors as well. The Beatrix Potter china ornaments are beautifully crafted by artists—Graham Orwell, Alan Maslankowski, Ted Chawner, David Lyttleton, Arthur Gredington, Graham Tongue, Amanda Hughes-Lubeck and Albert Hallam.
This article showcases my large collection of Beswick/Royal Albert figurines in the Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit series. In addition to photographs and descriptions of the models I own, I will tell you a little about Beatrix Potter herself and how she came to write the Peter Rabbit series—along with her rapid rise to fame. I will also tell you a little about the Beswick designers and the important significance of Beswick backstamps.
How I Started Collecting Beatrix Potter Figures
My lifelong affection for Beatrix Potter figures began when I was given a Beswick figurine, Jeremy Fisher, for my birthday sixty years ago. Appealing, lovable, and faintly repellent, he travelled the world with me, a significant reminder of my childhood. This little figure lasted until I had children of my own, and eventually—after losing one hand, which was reverently glued back somewhat amateurishly—he broke and was regretfully consigned to the dustbin.
Over the years, I have gathered quite a large collection of Beswick figurines, which I now plan to sell, although I will keep one or two of my favourites.
Some Figurines in My Collection
- Tommy Brock BP 3a
- Mr Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit BP 3c
- Susan BP3b
- Mr Tod BP6a
- Appley Dapply BP2a
- Tailor of Gloucester BP2a
- Foxy Whiskered Gentleman BP-2a
- Mr Benjamin Bunny BP 2a Gold
- Pig-Wig BP 3b
- Sir Isaac Newton BP3b
- Benjamin Wakes Up BP 6a
Tommy Brock BP 3a: Standard and Very Rare Versions
In the photo above, the figurine on the left is the standard Beswick Beatrix Potter Tommy Brock BP 3a circa 1970–1974 (showing the spade handle and small eye patches). It has a blue-grey jacket, pink waistcoat and yellow trousers.
The figurine on the right is the very rare and valuable Beswick Beatrix Potter Tommy Brock in the second version, second variation (a hidden spade handle and small eye patches)—it has a rare BP 3a backstamp, only produced for one year, about 1974.
- Modeller: Graham Orwell
- Height: 3.5", 8.9 cm
- Issued: 1970–1974
Mr Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit BP 3c
Mr Benjamin Bunny is seen here smacking Peter Rabbit's bottom in this scene from The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.
- Modeller: Alan Maslankowski
- Height: 4", 10.1 cm
- Issued: 1975–1995
This figure appears to have a very rare backstamp: "Frederick Warne plc 1983" (as opposed to Frederick Warne & Co), which is not even mentioned in Beswick's Collectables, although I have seen it elsewhere on the internet. A rare backstamp would increase the value considerably.
- Modeller: David Lyttleton
- Height: 4"
- Issued: 1983
Mr Tod BP6a
- Modeller: Ted Chawner
- Height: 4.75", 12.1 cm
- Issued: 1988–1993
Appley Dapply BP2a
This Beswick Beatrix Potter Appley Dapply BP2a figurine goes for about £150.
- Modeller: Albert Hallam
- Issued: 1971–1975
Tailor of Gloucester BP2a
Tailor of Gloucester is one of the less valuable Beswick figurines, so it would make a good starter to a collection. This figure depicts a brown mouse on a yellow bobbin of red thread.
- Modeller: Arthur Gredington
- Height: 3.5"
Foxy Whiskered Gentleman BP-2a
Foxy Whiskered Gentleman was issued between 1954–2002. However, the backstamp on the figurine in the photograph indicates that it was actually issued between 1955–1975, so it is a very early version.
In this particular version, Foxy Whiskered Gentleman is wearing a pale green jacket and trousers and a pink waistcoat. Sadly, he has a chipped ear, waistcoat and backstamp.
- Height: 4.75", 12.1 cm
- Issued: 1955–1975; 1954–2002
Mr Benjamin Bunny BP 2a Gold
The Mr Benjamin Bunny figure shown here is the earlier version issued between 1965 and 1974, which has his pipe out. There is an extremely rare earlier version with Mr Benjamin Bunny wearing a lilac jacket as opposed to the maroon jacket.
In the later versions, issued between 1970 and 2002, his pipe is in. There are numerous different backstamps, and the later issues are, on the whole, a lot less valuable.
- Modeller: Arthur Gredington
- Height: 4.25", 10.8 cm
- Issued: 1965–1974; 1970–2002
Pig-Wig BP 3b
There were two colour variations for Pig-Wig:
- Version 1 is extremely rare—so rare, in fact, that the standard reference book, Beswick Collectables, does not even list the price. The version 1 Pig-Wig is a grey pig in a pale blue dress.
- In version 2, the one shown above, she is a black pig in a deep blue dress.
- Modeller: Albert Hallam
- Height: 4"
- Issued: 1972–1982
Sir Isaac Newton BP3b
Sir Isaac Newton is my favourite Beatrix Potter Figurine—don't ask me why; I just love him! This is one of the only figures with a backstamp using the words "Made in England" as opposed to the usual "England".
The colour and size of Sir Isaac Newton figurines may vary. He wears a pale green jacket and a yellow waistcoat with tan markings.
- Modeller: Graham Tongue
- Height: 3.75", 9.5 cm
- Issued: 1955–1972
Benjamin Wakes Up BP 6a
Benjamin Wakes Up is not a very valuable figurine, but he's quite cute.
- Modeller: Amanda Hughes-Lubeck
- Height: 2.25", 5.7 cm
- Issued: 1991–1997
What Are Backstamps?
Backstamps are used by manufacturers to identify their work and are generally found on the underside of the figurine. They normally include the name of the manufacturer and, in the case of Beswick, there were many variations which could be used to deduce the model and date of issue. Some people collect rare backstamps, rather than the figurines they identify, and backstamps can considerably increase the value of an item if they are very rare.
Beswick, Royal Albert and Royal Doulton Beatrix Potter Backstamps
The following information will assist you when you are building your collection of Beswick, Royal Albert and Royal Doulton Beatrix Potter figurines. There were 25 different backstamp variations used in total:
BP1a Beswick Gold Circle
Beswick England written in a Circle
BP1b Beswick Gold Parallel Lines
Beswick England written in parallel lines used on a very limited amount of figures
BP2 Beswick Gold Oval
Beswick England written in an Oval shape
BP2b Beswick Transitional
Part Gold Script backstamp as on the BP2 and part BP3b backstamp
Brown writing with no date stamp
Brown writing Potter's with an "s" and the copyright date
Brown writing Potter with no 's with the added Licensed By Copyrights and the copyright date
BP4 Beswick Doulton
Similar to the BP3c stamp but with the John Beswick Signature and the added Studio of Royal Doulton
BP5 Royal Albert Gold Crown
Gold stamp to mark the changeover to the Royal Albert Label, only used on six Character Figurines
BP6a Royal Albert Small Crown
Brown stamp used on the smaller figures
BP6b Royal Albert Large Crown
Brown stamp used on the larger size figures
BP7 Beswick Doulton
100 in an Oval shape with the writing Peter Rabbit 1893–1993 F.Warne & Co used to mark the 100th Anniversary of Peter Rabbit
BP8a Beswick Doulton
Brown Script Beswick Ware found on only two figures: Jemima & Her Ducklings and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle Washing
BP8b Beswick Doulton
Brown Script Beswick Ware marked 1947–1997 used to mark the 50th year of production of Beswick Beatrix Potter figurines
BP8c Beswick Doulton
Brown Script Beswick Ware used on Limited Edition figurines with the added Limited Edition numbers only used on three Tableaus
BP9a Beswick Doulton
Gold Script Beswick Ware marked with Beswick Centenary 1894–1994 marking the 100th Anniversary of the Beswick company only used on Jemima Puddle-Duck
BP9b Beswick Doulton
Gold Script Beswick Ware used on six figurines painted with Gold Highlights
BP9c Beswick Doulton
Gold Script Beswick Ware used on Limited Edition figures with the added Limited Edition numbers
BP9d Beswick Doulton
Gold Script Beswick Ware used on Limited Edition figures with the addition of the Peter Rabbit and Friends logo
BP10a Beswick Doulton
Beswick "B" Black Crest stamp
BP10b Beswick Doulton
Black stamp Beswick written arched over Made In England
BP10c Beswick Doulton
A variation of BP10b but all writing is curved around the figures circular base
BP10d Beswick Doulton
Beswick "B" Gold Crest Special Gold Edition with the Peter Rabbit and Friends logo only used on Sweet Peter Rabbit
BP11a Beswick Doulton
Circular stamp with the John Beswick Signature and the "P" reference number of the figure produced on nine Gloss Finish figures and six Satin Glaze Finish figures
BP11b Beswick Doulton
Circular stamp same as BP11a but on marked Limited Edition figures
Who Was Beatrix Potter?
Helen Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class Victorian family who had inherited money from the cotton trade. Her father, a barrister, was keen on art and photography, and her parents mixed socially with writers, artists and politicians. They were too busy to spend much time with Beatrix, and she was educated at home by a governess. Her younger brother, Bertram, was a close companion, but as he attended boarding school, she was quite a lonely child.
Her father encouraged her artistic talent, and she and her brother spent much time observing and sketching the numerous pets in their household and a variety of wildlife. Beatrix and Bertram kept many animals in their schoolroom, including mice, birds, frogs, lizards, snakes and a bat. Beatrix Potter's pets were often subjects for sketches and paintings and were later to inspire the much-loved characters in her books.
In her 20s, Beatrix became a keen naturalist who studied and drew plants and animals at museums, examining them under the microscope and writing about them. She was a gifted natural scientist and botanical illustrator and presented a botanical paper on Funghi to the Linnean Society. Later, she became a farmer, sheep-breeder and conservationist.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit grew from some of her letters to the children of her former governess which she had illustrated seven years previously in 1893. After six rejections from publishers, she decided to publish the book herself in 1901; on the strength of that, it was then taken on by the publisher Frederick Warne.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902 with an initial 8,000 copies printed, and the tale has never been out of print since. Beatrix Potter went on to publish another 22 little books over the next 28 years.
Potter's editor, Norman Warne, fell in love and proposed to her but, sadly, he died in 1905 before they could marry. Her books were very successful, and the income enabled her to buy farming land in the Lake District. There she met a local solicitor, William Heelis, who became her husband in 1913. As well as sheep farming, she developed a keen interest in conservation after becoming friendly with a founding member of the National Trust, and in her will, she left the Trust 14 farms and over 4,000 acres.
Beatrix Potter is still one of the world's best-selling and best-loved children's authors. She wrote and illustrated a total of 28 books, including the 23 tales which have been translated into more than 35 languages and sold over 100 million copies.
Peter Rabbit Book or Other Tale
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
The Tailor of Gloucester
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
The Tale of Two Bad Mice
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit
The Story of Miss Moppet
The Tale of Tom Kitten
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
The Tale of Samuel Whisker or The Roly-Poly Pudding
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles
The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
The Tale of Mr. Tod
The Tale of Pigling Bland
Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Do You Collect Beswick Figurines?
More Beswick Collectables
- Collectible Beswick Figurines: Alice in Wonderland Series
This article contains information and photographs on the Beswick series of Alice in Wonderland figurines and the designers. They are very collectable little ceramic figurines that make great presents too, as they are relatively inexpensive.
Questions & Answers
I have two Beatrix Potter figurines. Pigling Bland and Little Pig Robinson. I believe both are BP2 stamp. Pigling has a number 4 on it and the other a number 34. I wasn’t sure what these referred to. What could these numbers on my Beatrix Potter figurines mean?
I have spent quite a long time checking my reference book carefully, but have been unable to find out what these numbers represent even though many of the backstamps have what looks like hand-written numbers on them.Helpful 3
My mother collected Beatrix Potter figurines, and we have several that are signed. Where would be the best source for selling her collection?
I have only ever sold Beatrix Potter figurines on eBay. When I have checked the selling prices at local auction sales, they seem to be quite a lot lower than eBay.Helpful 2
I have a Sir Isaac Newton with the number 37 on the bottom and no other stamp. I am not sure where to go to get further information on it. Can you help?
If it only has a number 37 on it and no other wording, for example, the manufacturer "Beswick" or "Made in Britain," I doubt whether it is a genuine Beswick figurine although it could still be a Beatrix Potter figurine, just not made by any famous manufacturer, in which case, I'd have no idea how it would be valued.
I'm sorry that I don't know where else you would get further information, apart from the internet. I have a reference book called "Beswick Collectables" (9th Edition), published in 2005 from which I get my information, but there is no recent edition that I know of, and this book does not mention a figurine numbered 37Helpful 2
I have a Cottontail figurine that has the backstamp "Frederick Warne P.L.C. 1985." What does the "P.L.C" mean?
"P.L.C." means "Public Limited Company."Helpful 1
© 2010 Diana Grant