The original drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood has sold for £430,000, setting a new record for a book illustration sold at auction.
The work was drawn by E H Shepard to map A A Milne’s magical world of Winnie-the-Pooh, encompassing places such as the “Pooh Trap for Heffalumps” to the famous spot “where the Woozle wasn’t”. The map was sold by Sotheby’s alongside four more original illustrations, including one of Christopher Robin and the bear saying their goodbyes. The other three show Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit and a game of Pooh sticks.
In total, the sale price of the illustrations added up to £917,500, against Sotheby’s original estimate of £310,000-440,000.
The drawings were all from an unnamed private collection and had not been seen in public for 50 years, according to the auction house.
Philip Errington, Sotheby’s senior specialist in the book department, told The Guardian there had been significant international bidding.
“It reflects the fact that people fall in love with the works of A A Milne and E H Shepard. The map is part of the defining world of Winnie-the-Pooh. However you approach Pooh, whether it was through a book or a Disney cartoon, the map is your way in. It is the first thing you encounter. It has a resonance.”
Winnie-the Pooh was first published in 1926 and the eponymous bear has gone on to become one of the most popular children’s book characters of all time, topping a Reading Agency poll in 2016.
The stories have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Esperanto and Latin.