EH Shepard Pooh original illustration carries $81,000 estimate

A recently discovered Winnie-the-Pooh original drawing by EH Shepard (1879-1976) could make £50,000 ($80,850) at Sotheby's London on December 10.

The 9 by 5 inch drawing by the illustrator of the Winnie-the-Pooh series of children's books is the earliest depiction of the "silly old" bear and Christopher Robin playing pooh sticks.

EH Shepard Winnie the Pooh Sotheby's
The drawing was thought to have been lost until recently

The work, titled For a Long Time They Looked at the River Beneath Them, was believed to have been lost and has not been seen for the past 87 years. It transpires that it was given to a friend of Shepard's wife, Norah, who is now consigning it to auction.

Most of Shepard's original pencil drawings were given to the Victoria and Albert Museum in the 1970s, with just four, including this one, missing from the collection.

The illustration appeared in its finished form in the 1928 collection of stories, The House at Pooh Corner - the second book in the much-loved series.

It features twice in the first edition of the published work, both on page 106 and as the frontispiece.

The unsigned drawing has been torn from the artist's sketchbook and features perforated edges, along with pin holes and some light spotting.

An early colour illustration, titled Christopher Robin's Braces, will also feature in the sale with an estimate of £40,000-60,000 ($64,680-97,020).

Paul Fraser Collectibles has an original autographed drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh by EH Shepard, dating to 1970.

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