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Michael Winner sale makes £1.1 million and new record for EH Shepard at Sotheby's
Beatrix Potter, “Gentleman rabbit with letter”. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- This afternoon’s sale, The Art of Illustration, the Collection of Michael Winner, the finest single-owner collection of original book illustrations ever offered at auction, realised a total of 1,127,296. The top lot of the sale was E H Shepard’s original ink drawing Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump… which realised £139,250. It is the first depiction of Winnie-the-Pooh with Christopher Robin from the first of AA Milne’s story books. The work was offered alongside illustrations from Beatrix Potter, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen and Arthur Rackham.

The renowned film director, who built up his collection over more than 30 years recalled: “It was many years ago that I went into an old bookshop in the Charing Cross Road; there I saw two paintings by Arthur Rackham which I found utterly memorable. They had a quality which was unique. From then on I became a collector: I was hooked. I retained an interest that has followed me through my life, keeping the fascination with all things illustrated: works by Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielson, Mabel Lucie Attwell and many others. There were no aspects of my collection that I did not appreciate, whether it was the deep blue colours of Dulac or the childlike simplicity of Attwell. They all fascinated me, and above all were a great source of fun that always amused me.”

Michael Winner remembered: “It was many years ago that I went into an old bookshop in the Charing Cross Road; there I saw two paintings by Arthur Rackham which I found utterly memorable. They had a quality which was unique. From then on I became a collector: I was hooked. I retained an interest that has followed me through my life, keeping the fascination with all things illustrated: works by Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielson, Mabel Lucie Attwell and many others. There were no aspects of my collection that I did not appreciate, whether it was the deep blue colours of Dulac or the childlike simplicity of Attwell. They all fascinated me, and above all were a great source of fun that always amused me.”

Dr Philip W. Errington, Sotheby’s Specialist Books and Manuscripts commented: “The scope and quality of the pieces in the Michael Winner collection is breath-taking. To see the original artworks, so familiar from their reproductions in children’s books, is a great thrill and Sotheby’s is delighted to present collectors with the rare opportunity to acquire these well-known pieces. All the great names of Children’s illustration are here and the number of works by certain artists is certainly unprecedented. The Winner Collection is a testament to a discerning and remarkable collector.”

"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin."
This, the first depiction of Winnie-The-Pooh with Christopher Robin from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (Methuen, 1926), is aruguably the best-known illustration in all of children’s literature. The original pencil illustration (195 by 145mm), drawn by E.H. Shepard, was estimated at £70,000-£100,000. Shepard’s illustrations were central to the success of A.A. Milne’s tales of Winnie-The-Pooh. Works by the artist, who also drew the celebrated illustrations for Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in The Willows (1931), are now held in collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Beatrix Potter
“Gentleman rabbit with letter”

Beatrix Potter continues to be one of the most popular children’s authors, over 100 years since her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was published. Famous for her illustrations as much as for her story-telling, her depictions of rabbits are probably the most loved of all of her drawings. This particular illustration, a fine ink and watercolour drawing of a Gentleman Rabbit, adorned with a tail-coat, waistcoat, staff and hat (70 by 52mm) is believed to have been designed for a greetings card. Although unpublished at the time, it was later reproduced by The Beatrix Potter Society. Executed around the period 1890-93, it was estimated at £30,000 - £50,000.

Michael Winner | The Art of Illustration | Beatrix Potter | Edmund Dulac |




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