Hundred Acre Wood
Winnie-the-Pooh’s 'Hundred Acre Wood' by EH Shepard. Image credit: Sotheby's.

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Featuring on the opening endpapers of the original 1926 book, the sketch introduces readers to the imagination of Christopher Robin and his woodland friend.

The map was offered alongside four other original Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations by EH Shepard, none of which had been seen in public for almost 50 years. The five original illustrations were sold for a combined premium-inclusive total of £917,500, against an estimate of £310,000-440,000.

Dr Philip Errington, director and senior specialist at Sotheby’s department of printed books and manuscripts, said: “I suspect that there isn’t a single child who wouldn’t instantly recognise this wonderful depiction of The Hundred Acre Wood. This is the first drawing you encounter in the book and is the visual guide to the entire world of Winnie-the-Pooh. In this group of original drawings, you can see the real skill of the artist, the skill of the strokes of his pen.

“They've never been brought out in the UK or the US with illustrations by anyone else apart from EH Shepard and that is the power, and ability of the illustrator, and why this is probably the most famous map in English literature.”

Shepard (1879-1976) also illustrated the animal characters in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame as well as Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne.

The two-day Sotheby’s sale of English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations included stand-out prices for a Charles Darwin manuscript and a book read by Charles I.

An autograph manuscript leaf from The Origin of the Species by Darwin sold for a hammer price of £400,000 against a £120,000-180,000 estimate.

The Faerie Queen: The Shepheards Calendar by Edmund Spenser sold at £85,000, against a £30,000-50,000 estimate. This edition is inscribed by King Charles I and it was read to him during his final imprisonment before he was executed. The book had been owned by Thomas Herbert (1606-82), attendant to King Charles I (1600-49) between 1647-49.