A collection of EH Shepard’s original drawings for the Winnie-the-Pooh children’s books by AA Milne fetched around £1.3 million at an auction on Wednesday, above the high pre-sale estimate.
The sale also set a record for a drawing by the British artist, when one of his most recognisable images, ‘He went on tracking, and Piglet... ran after him’, sold for £115,250, more than double expectations. The second highest bid of the night was for another famous image of the lovable honey-loving bear, ‘Bump, bump, bump — going up the stairs’, which went under the hammer for £97,250, again well above estimates.
The picture of Christopher Robin dragging his bear by the leg up the stairs beside him comes from the final chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh. Sotheby’s auctioneers called the illustrations on offer in London the finest single collection of Shepard’s original drawings for the Pooh books to come to the market. “The public have a strong affection for these drawings and we are thrilled that this significant collection has notably exceeded expectations,” said Philip Errington, Sotheby’s specialist in charge of children’s literature and illustrations.
The strength of the sale comes despite a marked downturn in the fine art market in recent months.