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Sotheby's To Sell Some of the Most Iconic and Best-Loved Original Illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh
‘Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders’ (est. £40,000-60,000). Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby's London announced that on 17 December, 2008, it will offer for sale the finest single collection of E.H. Shepard’s original drawings for Winnie-the-Pooh books to come to auction. Featuring some of the most iconic and best-loved illustrations of Pooh, this important collection includes the original drawing ‘He went on tracking, and Piglet . . . ran after him’ (est. £40,000-60,000). Also to be offered is a selection of significant A.A. Milne books, some of which are extremely limited editions and others that are signed or inscribed by the author. Prior to the sale, highlights will be exhibited in New York on 3-6 December before being exhibited in London on 12 December.

Dr Philip W. Errington, Sotheby’s specialist in charge of children’s books and original illustrations, said, “We are delighted to offer this material at auction. A few months ago Sotheby’s achieved a new world record for the work of an illustrator at auction when we sold a collection of watercolours by Beatrix Potter. Shepard’s iconic drawings are recognized and loved by generations across the world and should perform well in this buoyant area of the market”.

The original illustration ‘Bump, bump, bump – going up the stairs’ (est. £50,000-70,000) represents one of the most iconic images of the characters and comes from the final chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh: “He nodded and went out. . . and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh – bump, bump, bump – going up the stairs behind him.”

Also featuring in the sale is ‘Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders’ (est. £40,000-60,000), which accompanies the chapter in Winnie-the-Pooh in which Pooh is first introduced.

E.H. Shepard’s ‘I’m not throwing it, I’m dropping it, Eeyore’ will also be included (est. £30,000-50,000). The ink drawing appeared in The House at Pooh Corner and is from the chapter in which Pooh invents the game of Poohsticks: “But Pooh had got the biggest stone he could carry, and was leaning over the bridge, holding it in his paws. ‘I’m not throwing it, I’m dropping it, Eeyore,’ he explained. ‘And
then I can’t miss – I mean I can’t hit you. Could you stop turning round for a moment, because it muddles me rather?’” Other notable illustrations for sale include ‘Pooh goes visiting’, two ink drawings comprising ‘Pooh pushed and pushed and pushed his way through the hole . . .’ and ‘So he started to climb out of the hole . . .’ (est. £60,000-80,000).

The printed books include a first American edition presentation copy of Winnie-the Pooh (E.P. Dutton & Company, 1926, est. £20,000-30,000). The edition is inscribed by the author to E.H. Shepard, together with an eight-line verse inscription, and additionally signed by the illustrator. This highly important and personal gift from Milne to Shepard reveals the author's sense of debt to his illustrator:

When I am gone,
Let Shepard decorate my tomb,
And put (if there is room)
Two pictures on the stone:
Piglet, from page a hundred and eleven,
And Pooh and Piglet walking (157) . . .
And Peter, thinking that they are my own,
Will welcome me to Heaven.

An un-numbered copy of just 20 presentation copies on vellum of The House at Pooh Corner from the library of E.H. Shepard will also be offered (Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1928, est. £20,000-30,000). The rare edition is inscribed with the message, “This is a presentation copy for E.H. Shepard, Esq”, and is signed by both the author and the illustrator.

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