This delightful piece of literary and artistic history by E. H. Shepard is to be auctioned for the first time in half a century, with Sotheby's expecting it to go for well over £100,000.

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Ernest Shepard was a cartoonist and illustrator for Punch in 1924, when a colleague on the magazine suggested that he work on a new character created by A. A. Milne, based on the latter’s son’s teddy bear.

Milne, also a regular contributor to Punch, was apparently not keen on Shepard’s style at first. But he decided to give him a try with his collection of poems, When We Were Very Young, and the rest, as they say, is history. Indeed, Milne was so taken with Shepard’s work, and felt so indebted to him for Pooh’s success, that he later granted a share of royalties to the artist.

Shepard’s genius saw him turn an unremarkable teddy bear and a few strolls around the Ashdown Forest into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh as we visualise it to this day, with even the Disneyfication of the loveable bear unable to shake the stranglehold that Shepard’s vision has on our collective imagination. Even Walt Disney himself knew he wouldn’t (and wouldn’t want) to dislodge Shepard’s work: the map was incorporated into the opening scene of Disney’s first Pooh film, the 1966 short animation Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree.

As such, it’s no surprise that Sotheby’s have put an estimate of £100,000 to £150,000 on the original map drawn by Shepard of the Hundred Acre Wood.  The drawing will be auctioned on July 10 as the star lot in the English Literature, History, Science, Childrens Books and Illustrations sale in London, a sale which includes four more of Shepard’s works.

Winnie The Pooh - E. H. Shepard “For a long time they looked at the river beneath them…” Original ink drawing, signed, 1929 Estimate: £60,000-80,000

“For a long time they looked at the river beneath them…” Original ink drawing by EH Shepard, signed, 1929
Estimate: £60,000-80,000

Winnie the Pooh / EH Shepard

Original Ink drawing by EH Shepard from The House at Pooh Corner, 1928.
Estimate: £80,000-120,000Several other E.H. Shepard’s original Winne-the-Pooh drawings are also being sold off at the same time, all of which you can see on this page.

Winnie the Pooh / EH Shepard

Original Ink drawing by EH Shepard from The House at Pooh Corner, 1928.
Estimate: £80,000-120,000

Among them a beautiful – and hugely poignant–  image of Pooh and Christopher Robin walking through the woods to say their final goodbye at the conclusion of The House at Pooh Corner. That picture has an estimate of £70,000-£90,000.

Winnie the Pooh / EH Shepard

“…an enchanted place on the very top of the Forest”. Original ink drawing by EH Shepard, signed, 1928.
Estimate: £70,000-90,000

Sotheby’s English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations auction takes place on July 10th.