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Beatrix Potter Names: Jemima & Jeremy

posted by: Nephele View all posts by this author
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By Nephele
 
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is a beloved children’s picture book author and illustrator whose stories have an enduring charm that will no doubt continue to delight readers well beyond our 21st century.
Her popular stories have made their way from the printed media into animated adaptations for television (The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends), and ballet (The Tales of Beatrix Potter).  Films have also been made depicting her life, the most recent being the 2006 movie titled Miss Potter and starring Renée Zellweger.

Beatrix Potter was an early conservationist, and her stories of Peter Rabbit and friends reflect her great love of the British countryside and nature.  Her animal characters (with the exception of the American animals appearing in The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes) were drawn from life, revealing Beatrix Potter‘s eye for realism as well as whimsy.

Apparent in her stories is a Victorian delicacy of understatement and wit in describing unavoidable unpleasantries, such as death: “Your father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.”  In addition, the Victorian expectation of children to master vocabulary can be found in Beatrix Potter‘s use of the occasional “soporific” and “improvident” sprinkled among the more childish bobbitties and scrumplies in her books.

While many of Beatrix Potter‘s anthropomorphic characters bear whimsical names, such as the beloved hedgehog laundress known as Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, there nevertheless can also be found a number of baby-worthy names among her characters.  These names will mainly appeal to those with classic naming tastes, representing names (and nicknames) that also appealed to the people of the British Isles living in the Victorian and Edwardian eras:

GIRLS

ANNA MARIA

BETSY

CECILY

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We all know, thanks to Princess Diana’s infamous wedding blunder, that British people like to use lots of middle names.  But it’s not just about quantity: The multiple British names feel inventive and surprising, chosen less for any conventional notion of flow and more for individual considerations of style and family.

Thalia Violetta Carlisle?  I would bet the nameberry farm that not a single child in America was given that combination of names last year….or maybe any year.  It’s quintessentially British, and it works.

In the examples of recent British baby names below, you’ll notice that lovely antique first names are combined with surnames are mixed up with nicknames, and that once in a while a word name – Rabbit, Reckless – is stuck in, just in case things weren’t eccentric enough already.

Name aficionados will want to check out the Birth Announcements in the London Telegraph for hundreds more such goodies. WARNING: This makes highly addictive reading.  Do not undertake too close to bedtime.

In fact, there were so many amazing three-name examples that we had to offload some pretty wonderful two-name choices, such as Hector Foxx and Acacia Lola and Jemima Fleur.  Another time.

Girls

Bay Mary Mason

Beatrice Isabella Catherine

Cecilia Katherine Ottilie (a sister for Romilly and Penleigh)

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