Beatrix Potter Squirrel Nutkin Illustrations

There are possibly no illustrations more quaint and charming for the fall season than those of Beatrix Potter’s famous tale of Squirrel Nutkin. Though I love all of Potter’s books, Her Squirrel Nutkin Illustrations were a clear choice to grace my walls. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you if you don’t already know, the naughty Squirrel Nutkin.

Old Mr Brown owl illustration by Beatrix Potter, from the book Squirrel Nutkin.

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The details of the watercolors paired with her love of landscape, and silly Nutkin’s cheekiness as a character equal timeless and beautiful illustrations. But it isn’t just the soft grace of her painting technique, it’s the personality of the subjects that gets me.

Free Printable Squirrel Nutkin Illustrations

Since her illustrations have since been put into the public domain, her watercolor art is readily available with any cursory google search.

Today you can buy her children’s book, purchase illustrations as an art print, or on a canvas print, and find thousands of digital files. And today I am sharing this free digital download available now in the Wonderland Subscriber’s Library.

Squirrel Nutkin and Twinkleberry, squirrel illustrations by Beatrix Potter.

If you find yourself loving these quaint little illustrations you can find all of her other books in a series.

A Short Synopsis of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Join Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry, and their many cousins as they set sail to Owl Island on little rafts they constructed of twigs. Each squirrel had a little sack and a large oar and spread out his tail for a sail.

The journey was made to offer the terrifying owl guardian of the island, Old Brown, a gift. And with the gift requesting his permission to collect nuts on his island. Nutkin, however, dances and sings a silly riddle. However, paying no attention to Nutkin’s teasing, Old Brown agrees to allow the squirrels to collect the nuts.

Beatrix Potter Squirrel Nutkin book and printables with Mr Brown the Owl and all the squirrels.
Beatrix Potter little green book titled Squirrel Nutkin and illustrations cut up.

These printables are available as a free download in the Wonderland Subscriber Library. By simply entering your email address and subscribing you get full access. Please remember these are for personal use only.

Beatrix Potter’s illustrations of

Squirrel Nutkin

This printable is for personal use only. However, feel free to share this post with friends and family so they can have these amazing timeless illustrations, too! The download will come with all 10 charming illustrations.

Every day for six days, the squirrels fill their sacks with nuts. First always offering gifts of fat minnows, fat mice, or a fat mole to Old Brown. And every day six days in a row Nutkin taunts him with riddles in song. Eventually, Nutkin annoys Old Mr. Brown to the end of his patience.

A little Squirrel Nutkin book open to an illustration of Old Mr Brown the owl.
Squirrel Nutkin Illustrations scattered next to an ironstone teacup.

At this point, Old Brown seizes Nutkin and tries to skin him alive. Nutkin narrowly escapes but loses most of his tail. After this, he becomes furious when he is given riddles.

A Short Biography About Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was an English Author, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist. Though perhaps best known for her mischievous literary animal characters she also had a love of science, specifically the field of mycology, and art combined. She has quite a few gorgeous paintings of fungi, several of which had never been discovered before her.

Beatrix Potter’s series of little books have entranced audiences since her very first book The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. Her highly successful children’s books are still extremely popular today. (Have you seen the movies inspired by the Peter Rabbit books?)

Old Mr Brown and Squirrel Nutkin illustrations sitting by books and an ironstone teacup.

Beatrix Potter’s Books in Order of Publication

Of the 60 books, Potter wrote there were 23 Tales each with a pronounced playful character, which have sold more than 250 million copies.

  1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
  2. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903)
  3. The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)
  4. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904)
  5. The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904)
  6. The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905)
  7. The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)
  8. The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906)
  9. The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
  10. The Story of Miss Moppet (1906)
  11. The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907)
  12. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)
  13. The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (1908)
  14. The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909)
  15. The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)
  16. The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)
  17. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911)
  18. The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912)
  19. The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913)
  20. Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917)
  21. The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918) 
  22. Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes (1922)
  23. The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)

Looking Beyond Her Children’s Books

However, most often her illustrations were fantasies featuring her own numerous pets of mice, rabbits, kittens, and guinea pigs.

She was, perhaps, the first person to create merchandise from a fictional character when she made a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903. Other merchandise followed over the years as well. Frederick Warne & Co licensed all of the merchandise (and continues to this day with updated reproductions of her original small books). All of this earned Potter an independent income, as well as incredible profits for her publisher.

After working very closely creating her fifth book, In 1905, Potter and Norman Warne became engaged. Unfortunately, the engagement was over shortly after it began. Then very suddenly Warne died at age 37 of pernicious anemia only one month after their engagement started.

With the income from her books, in 1905 Potter bought Hill Top Farm near a village at the edge of a lake. She and Norman had intended to purchase the property as a vacation home. However, after his death, Beatrix went ahead with the purchase.

Beyond an author, scientist, and artist, Potter was also a sheep breeder and a prosperous farmer devoted to land preservation.  In 1913, at the age of 47, she married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead. 

When Beatrix died on December 22nd, 1943 at the age of 77, she left almost all of her property to the National Trust.

In 2015, they discovered one of Beatrix’s unpublished books, and then on September 1st, 2016 they published The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots. However, it did not have any original illustrations by Beatrix. This marked the 150th anniversary of Potter’s birth.

Old Mr Brown illustration on top of the other Squirrel Nutkin illustrations.

If you love classic illustrations such as these you will absolutely love the other vintage classic art and illustrations available in my subscriber library. And make sure to look at these charming illustrations from Arthur Rackham.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→


  1. What a great blog. Cool. I love art that’s in the public domain. My favorite is Kate Greenaway. Maybe I’ll do a blog about her art someday. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks so much! I love Kate Greenaway, I have several of her books and really love her art style. I actually plan on doing future posts about her art as well, great minds think alike!

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