London, November 12 : A previously unknown painting of a rabbit by renowned author and illustrator Beatrix Potter is expected to fetch 10,000-15,000 pounds at an auction.
The Potter illustration, which shows an unnamed girl rabbit with a pink ribbon tied around her neck drinking with refinement from a teacup, has never been under the hammer before.
The English conservationist, who was best known for her children's books, featuring animal characters such as Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit, had not used the watercolour in any of her rabbit tales.
The illustration, which has been in a private collection for 50 years, will be up for grabs at Bonhams along with a Christmas card designed by Potter in 1893, which depicts three guinea pigs in a basket.
"Their unique charm and the infrequency with which they appear at auction creates a huge demand for this type of Beatrix's work," BBC quoted Alexandra Ault of Bonhams' watercolours department as saying.
Potter's "Rabbits' Christmas Party" had fetched 289,250 pounds at an auction in July making it the most expensive book illustration ever sold under the hammer.