A significant collection of charming Beatrix Potter artefacts comes to the market next week when the fruits of a 30-year enthusiasm are sold at Bloomsbury’s 24, Maddox Street, London W1 on February 27 (020- 7495 9494; www.bloomsburyauctions.com).

Mark Ottignon became entranced by all things Potter after his first visit to the Lake District at the age of 30. He now has enough memorabilia to fill three rooms at his Gloucestershire home and wants to make space for his Arthur Ransome and Alfred Wainwright collections.

‘I’m mainly attracted by the rare and difficult to obtain,’ he explains. ‘Beatrix was not only pioneering in her interest in farming, land, buildings and landscapes, but was one of the first authors to see the potential of merchandising a popular character. Collecting this has been the most testing as, unlike books, there is less of an obvious supply.’ He adds: ‘One can never complete a collection, but one does reach a stage of wondering what to do with it.’

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The top-priced of the 300-plus lots is a first edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (estimated at £20,000-£30,000). There are numerous other old editions, including the only one of A Happy Pair, the first book illustrated throughout by Miss Potter (£12,000-£16,000) plus Beswick china figures, a pair of clogs (£30-£40), her engagement picture (£300-£400), games and porcelain.

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